We should have known, because if something looks to good to be true, usually it is, and there is a catch. Today we went to a local event where they were selling some cows and organizing some games for the kids. There was also a picnic area, and we were in luck. There was still one table available. Well, we thought we were in luck, until we got closer. Alex was the first because he set of running once we had spotted the table.
To my surprise he came back running even faster. Wasps! Wasps! he was screaming, and he was right. Alex had found a wasps nest, and they had stung him three times in the legs. Au!
Luckily there was an ambulance nearby, and Alex got some cold ice cubes applied to his legs, and the pain quickly subsided. Add a gift to make things better and the rest of the day was spend without incident.
Alex has his seventh birthday today and that calls for a big party. At times we have some difficulty with him, but if we look at the big picture we can only conclude that he did very very well the last year. At his school we turned out to be a very good student, even getting selected to be the personal aid for his teacher. At his music classes he turned out just a bit better than the other kids, so that as a reward he was selected to sit in the spotlights all the way up front at the closing concert. At taekwondo Alex got promoted two times within the year. First to white-yellow and a short while later to yellow.
Alex has worked hard and made tremendous improvements this last year. We have a boy that in situations of authority (like with teacher) is a very disciplined boy. In all he has deserved a birthday with a nice stack of presents.
We have received an official email from Alex and Alans school. In this email the school states they will finally act against the debtors, parents that fail to pay up the tuition of their children. This sounds like a very good step to ensure the financial future of the school, but things are not so simple. Even though we pay everything we need to pay I can still understand that in some situations it might be logical not not pay up without putting up a fight. The context of this email is in this case very important.
Officially the school is free. The government pays all the fees related to the students. The school does have a voluntary contribution of about 50 EUR a month that the parents are required to pay.
The reason for the voluntary required contribution is always explained by summing up various small details, but a real specification has never been presented, and probably will never be presented.
Some parents refuse to pay the voluntary mandatory contribution out of principle.
To force the debtors to pay the voluntary fees the school will take the following measures:
Parents that do not pay will be unable to see their kids results on the school website
Kids will not be allowed to go on field trips
Kids will not be allowed to be dropped of early or collected late
Regarding all extras the school offers the kids of parents that do not pay might be excluded
It seems that the school is targeting the students to force the parents to pay up. I really doubt that this is the correct manner to act in this case and frankly I suspect this email will not result in the end of the debtors.
Alex has only recently started and he already got the yellow band. To get yellow he needed to learn a few taek wondo routines and execute them without any mistake during his exams. The exact movements are a mistery to me, so we could not help Alex, and still it all went perfect. *super proud*
Alan is only two years, but he is developing very fast. A big role in his development is of course his big brother Alex who functions as a perfect example for lots of things. Still, there is room for surprises, like the event that happened yesterday. Alan is developing his skills to influence. The great and subtle art of preparing the now with small little details so that a desired future will be more likely. For a two year old a great achievement, in fact even with an older kid I would be impressed.
What Alan had done was the following. He saved one of his candies and placed it secretly on my desk, next to the bed, so I found if right before going to sleep. In the early morning Alan came to check on the candy and when he found it still in its place he even offered to put it in my mouth. I sure wonder what he was hoping to achieve.
The Cola Cola Mentos experiment is quite simple. Throw a couple of mentos in a bottle of Coca Cola and a huge fountain of cola will be the result. At least in theory. To Alex I had to explain that this experiment would be impossible to do inside the house. Everything would be covered in cola. This one needed to be done outside.
The somewhat disappointing result can be seen in the video below.
Sport is not only fun, it is also very healthy. Alex goes to taek wondo twice a week, and these classes are basically running, jumping, doing obstacle courses and every now and then also kicking and hitting an imaginary enemy.
His taek wondo teacher is a nice man who has quite a bit of authority (great for getting all the kids in the class to behave). He knows very well how make all those kids behave and we can really see the discipline in all those kids. Sometimes the teacher gives a compliment, and you can almost see the complimented kid grow a little. Bad behavior results in a punishment of a couple of pushups or sitting on the side for a while without participating in the current game. Simple and effective.
After a little getting used to Alex is going really great. So good that after a couple of month he already had the basic 20 taek wondo moves down, and this is enough for a promotion to the white-yellow band!
I feel like I don’t have much to tell the world, but thinking about this issue made me realize that is not really true. I did move from Holland to Spain to a new environment and basically a new life. This made my own personal insights a lot more valuable. My life lessons could and should be shared with the world, so we can all get (a little bit) better. Sadly I don’t really feel like sharing, I feel the content I can provide will not be up to the task, and I think/feel there would be a very limited interest, so I’ll pass.
On the other hand there is something in my life that is even more exciting. My sons Alex and Alan also live in two worlds. Dutch and Spanish influences that help shape their realities and their vision of the world around them. The views these two boys have of the world is not contaminated by prejudice, assumptions, fear and diplomacy. Their view is still youthfully naive and full of hope, trust and faith. This is much more interesting and represents the real value. Even if the actual content does not mean so much these are the raisins in the cake.
Coincidentally I have been making small movie clips of our kids since their births, so all the need is a little tweaking. We need to add an intro, and at the and a nice “See you next time!”, and they will have a super interesting vlog. Lets just give it a try.