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APP-solute knowledge

I have this app… It alerts me in real time as to the grades my three loving children receive at school. Whether it is a test, a homework assignment, or class work…anytime any of their teachers enters a grade, it shows up on my app. And, since I also have an Apple Watch, I get a tap on the wrist each time to let me know that a grade has been entered and how exactly that grade affects the total grade, you know, in case I have been slacking and tending to my own needs or life.

I have recently decided that I should write to the company which created this app to suggest that they include a free bottle of Mylanta…or perhaps a trunk full of Tums with each download. And yes, I am perfectly aware of the fact that I could remove said app from my watch, and from my phone, and from my life entirely, but there is something so voyeuristic about it. I know it is simply toying with that part of the brain that craves instant gratification…and yet I let it toy. So, I have made it my mission to use this app as a test of my motherly self-control.

Yes, I am letting this little piece of sh…technology torture me, but the important thing…the true challenge comes with how I choose to use the information it puts at my disposal. This is the thing that could ultimately harm my three precious offspring, and the Mamma Bear in me wants to dominate it.

Why do I think that this kind of app could be harmful? Let’s boil it down to this: though I do kind of want to know when my kids have made a bad decision (like forgetting to do their homework…or not studying for a test), I don’t think I should be allowed to know every single time they make a bad decision…in real time. It just feels wrong. Ok…as a mom maybe it doesn’t feel that wrong. After all, I BIRTHED them! I waddled around for nine months (nine months and TEN days for the middle one…if anyone owes me, it’s that one) carrying them through nausea and back pain. I have stayed up nights holding buckets for them… Well, you get the gist.

Then I think back to when I was a kid in school…and it once again feels wrong. I cannot even imagine how my life would have been if my parents had had that kind of instant and absolute knowledge of my school performance: every assignment…every quiz and test. For one thing, I have a feeling there would have been a lot less weekends spent hanging out with friends. I remember completely tanking tests, or forgetting homework, and desperately doing everything possible, including striking deals with the teacher to give me a chance to do some kind of extra credit to get my grade back up before report cards came out, and studying like a fiend the next time around to bring up my average. I would carry the knowledge of my mistake inside me, in the hopes that my mom wouldn’t run into my teacher at the supermarket and ask how I was doing in class before I had a chance to make things right again…or at least better. The point being: I had to figure it out myself with my teacher…or face the consequences, but I at least had a chance to try to figure it out before the poop completely hit the fan.

The danger of me instantly knowing every grade…is that I am tempted to react to every grade…and I feel like I shouldn’t necessarily have this power. So, a lot of the time I play dumb and ask how classes are going and bite through my tongue when I feel like I am about to scream out, “didn’t you say you were going to study for that test? How could you have failed that test if you were really studying when you said you were?!” She knows she failed the test (I say she because Little Man is too young to have his grades flashing across my watch, quite yet. Something to look forward to, I guess). She is upset about failing the test. If she isn’t up to talking about it right then, I should respect that.

I am also trying to teach them that I do not buy into this whole attitude I see around me that if they don’t get everything perfect now it will be too late…that every mistake is fatal! I understand and agree with eventually having all of one’s ducks in a row, but I think that kids should have the opportunity to get to know their own unique set of ducks and to gently herd them into a row. With the standardized testing and constant rating going on nowadays, it feels more like the kids are being pressured to shove their ducks together and to link them up alla chain gang. Each kid (and I mean each of my three, as well) matures at a different rate and in different ways. Some kids need to make more mistakes in order to find their way. It’s a process. This is the best time for them to make mistakes and to have wiggle room to figure things out. Heck…in actuality they may still be figuring things out with each day they spend on this lovely planet! People change careers and pursue different trades or degrees at all different ages. One of my favorite co-students during my master’s degree was a woman in her sixties!

There may be easier or more difficult ways…but there is no right way to do life. So, I’ll leave the app on for now to appease the control freak in me, as long as the control freak in me can be appeased by simply having the knowledge and not necessarily using it, but I have promised myself…more specifically my esophagus, that I will shut that bugger down if the acid begins to rise too high.

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