Thursday, June 11

Book Review

Taking care of my little nephews last week, I began to gain some perspective upon – if not outright compassion for those mammas who I so disdain for carrying their kids’ book bags [how does that American Indian saying go about walking a mile in my moccasins?]. Granted, in a country like Switzerland where they have taken the Montessori method of ‘learn at your own pace’ schooling to new highs (or lows, depending on your point of view), books are not a big part of what gets carted around in kids’ school bags. All I know is that, if you want to get them home in time for you to make dinner, you better grab the bags.

In Italy, on the other hand, tiny tots lug huge volumes to and fro, reminiscent of books originating in hilltop monasteries (obviously, a tradition handed down from the times when one was schooled only by the church). Like their forerunners, these books are so precious, kids are not allowed to mark them up (so much for interactive learning), and must share them with their deskmate before handing them down to the next class. In a country famous for copying, making actual copies of only the pages in question is totally out of the question -- one of the few rules that actually gets enforced here.

Each school year is marked by the typical Back to School Sales and the Back to School Sit-ins by moms and tykes alike, protesting the book bag weight scheme. Nonetheless, I now find little kids with backpacks on rollers in order to get their studies to school while saving them from a lifetime of Chiropractic care. Considering how much kids dilly-dally on the way to and from school, you begin to wonder if we couldn’t get the kids themselves on those rollers.
Perhaps that’s why those healies shoes were invented. By a parent seriously tired of reiterating ‘C’mon, Let's Go!’ ‘til he was blue in the face.

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