Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bad habits are hard to break - even across generations

I know it's probably been a while, but pick up a pen and write something, anything. Look at your hand. Ever wonder how you came to hold your pen that way?

At one point, students were taught how to hold a pencil in their first days of school. Years later, we moved to typing class and students were taught proper finger placement so they could type with their eyes closed. Now it seems, the kids aren't being taught either and are left to figure it out for themselves.

I've known since I was young that I hold a pencil wrong. My father humorously tells the story about being called in by my elementary teacher about the improper way I hold a pencil. Her attempts to correct me didn't work, and to this day, my mother still shakes her head when she notices me writing something (or using chopsticks, or crocheting).

Apparently, this may be a dominant gene, this holding things incorrectly. My daughters' holds are amazingly awkward. My oldest, we can't even emulate her holding a pencil, a knife, a fork. The firstborn, I guess I thought whatever she did was cute and never tried to correct it until it was too late.  I fear my youngest may dislocate her thumb once she starts writing words longer than 5 letters. And as proof that family history repeats itself, yes, this did come up in my first parent-teacher conference this year. I was the one who brought it up, and then was amused to find out that her teacher didn't mention it because she had already talked to an occupational therapist friend and was assured my child was fine.  I was touched that she was that concerned.   (The two kids in the middle? Somehow they learned what not to do and have both good hand structure and nice handwriting.)  I can't even help my girls because I can't model for them how your hand is supposed to look, but I know it's not what they are doing.

It's funny, the things we want our children not to learn from us.  Not only our bad habits (has your child mimicked a curse word?) and broken morals (does your kids try to get away with 'white lies'?), but things that we know are wrong, but we can't help it.  Don't you wish they'd pick up on our good habits, too?

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