Thursday, September 16, 2010

Clash of the moms

How much is too much?
Judgement of quantity can be quite subjective don't you think?
Sugar in tea for example, salt on chips, number of cookies with a cuppa, scoops of icecream for pudding, volume of music and so. What can be perfect for one person/family can be too much or too little for another, it's even documented in fairy tales for goodness sake - remember Goldilocks & the 3 bears?

The problem of how much is too much takes another dimension when there is more than 1 nationality involved though. The English may be backward when it comes to learning languages but if you're talking about the integration and assimilation of technology into day to day life I* think the Brits are streets if not decades ahead of the Germans.

For example - most primary schools in the UK have now equipped every classroom with interactive whiteboards and beamers as well as a couple of PC's. No more chalk dust but also the threat of board rubber throwing has been removed (if it hadn't been made completely unPC many years before along with its siblings the cane and the slipper) Here in Germany there isn't a single interactive board to be seen, and computers in the classroom? Please! Admittedly the black boards are green and not black but chalk is still the writing tool of choice.

Another example - payment in shops, cash is still very much the king around here, visitors are always surprised to get their visa card rejected and quite embarassed to have to borrow cash from their host - while in the UK I hear you can even use your debit/credit card to pay for things less than £10 without even a signature or a PIN, just a swipe is all it, I have yet to find a supermarket here that's heard of the term 'cashback'. Although electronic banking/personal transferrals are popular here instead of paper cheques which is a step in the right direction - shame they can't team it with free banking which not even children seem to get 1 son is not amused.

And just don't get me started on mobile drives me crazy when I see the contract deals available in the UK that are with the same huge (German owned) parent company but I have to pay 3 times the amount for less than half the equivalent deal...seeth.

So back to the my subject;
Friend S has a son K who was playing at another friends house with a 3rd child, the parents were all busy, men talking work (yawn) women talking. At leaving time it became apparent that for the 2 or so hours that the children had been in the playroom they'd been playing electronic games. The German mother was outraged, shocked that she hadn't been asked permission for her poor innocent child to be so corrupted and is now blaming the events of Sunday afternoon on her child walloping its sibling the day after, because it's never done that before.

Friend S has another German friend who recently discovered that when her son and K are on the computer at S&K's there is a possibility that they have greater access to the internet than she allows. She now wants to get together to check websites and discuss what the boys are allowed to do and for how long. S isnot an uncaring mother by any stretch of the imagination and has a netnanny thingummy on the computer and doesn't allow the boys to spend all their time staring at the screen, but neither does she stand over them constantly, she also realises that the best way to make sure a child does something is to ban it completely.
The irony of it is that I can quite see both of these German children in a couple of years time being allowed to run around the woods with soft air guns shooting plastic bullets at each other, afterall, one of these 7/8 year olds is already the owner of not one but two penknives.

As I started by saying, quantity of anything is a personal issue but 'too much of anything can make you sink' as Cheryl says.

* I, these are my personal views and they may appear to be a little biased at times, maybe even one sided, sorry but it's my blog.

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