Kinder Ethics

There is a lot I love about Brazil. But I’m becoming increasingly concerned with the kind of influence living here is going to have on my (currently 3-year-old) daughter.

Every morning as I am getting her ready for pre-school, we have the same conversation:

Daughter: Are we going to walk to school?

Me: Yes. We are walking.

Daughter: But I’m tired.

Me: You just woke up. How can you be tired?

Daughter: Can’t someone drive us? (The school is two and a half blocks.)

Me: No. We’re walking.

Daughter: Can’t we take a taxi?

Me: No.

This is followed by crying and whining.

I envision years from now, when she is in high school, she will be recanting this story to her friends as an example of the horrors of her childhood.

(Translated from Portuguese of course…)

Daughter: Yeah, and my mother made me WALK to school every morning when I was little.

Friends: Walk? Didn’t your driver take you?

Daughter: No. I had to WALK.

Friends: Wait? Didn’t your nanny push you in the stroller until you were seven or eight years old?

Daughter: No. I had to WALK every day.

Friends: But why?

Daughter: Because my mother is a cold, soulless being whose only pleasure was to inflict inconvenience and work upon me.

It’s not just the physical laziness that scares me. Nor that whenever my daughter decides to scatter something across the floor, our maid rushes to clean it up. It’s the life lessons in general.

A friend of mine gave me Brain Quest for ages 3-4, which is a series of cards that tests kids on things like numbers, letters and scenarios. My daughter aced everything except the following:

She didn’t know what a can opener was.

She didn’t know what a washing machine was for or why the mommy mouse in the picture was using it.

She didn’t know that Molly Mouse was polishing shoes.

She had no idea that Molly Mouse was peeling potatoes.

(She also didn’t know what a church was, but that’s my fault.)

Am I looking too far into this? Maybe in NYC, she would be the same. Or maybe… it’s just the beginning.

This entry was posted in Culture Conflicts, Daily Escapades, Expatriate Info & Advice, Foreigner Insights, Living in Sao Paulo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Kinder Ethics

  1. Danielle says:

    Hopefully your good influence and American independence work ethic will balance it out a bit.

    This is something my ‘husfriend’ and I discuss a lot — if raising our kids here will turn them into spoiled brats, basically. He likes to argue that he was raised here (obviously) and turned out OK, and then I remind him that our number one “problematic issue” in our relationship is that he’s as lazy as all hell when it comes to anything that’s not his job. But then again, I have a lot of American friends who say the same thing about their American husbands.

    It’s a crapshoot!

    • You’re right. My husband is from Brazil, but was also raised in Germany (opposite in oh so many ways from Brazil), so he’s got that side that keeps him from being lazy. But it probably means we just have to work a bit harder to make sure she’s got the ethics we want her to have.

  2. ojeitobrasileiro says:

    Well to be fair it is not as much Brazil as the middle /upper class in Brazil… and in that instance, they are like the upper class in the US. .. well at least the ones I knew in Cali 😉

  3. You might be right. Although, California is a whole different ball game. (Am I right?)

  4. Sarah says:

    The one time I tried quizzing my daughter in a similar fashion (with really easy flashcards, meant to help teach sign langugage), the one she couldn’t get was cheddar cheese. Fair enough – why would cheese be , after all?

    I second O Jeito Brasileiro’s comment….working- and even middle-class Brazilians, especially women, work SOO hard – I don’t know how they do it. (Or how they manage to have cleaner houses than I do 😉

    Interesting reflections – sometimes I wonder the same thing….although I tell myself that a good portion of the me-first attitude is probably more a result of being three than anything else, and as long as we’re careful, it’ll probably pass. (???)

    Conversation overheard (by our housekeeper/nanny) between my daughter and her also-three-year-old friend:
    Daughter: Não pode bagunçar meu quarto!
    Friend: Sua mãe vai brigar?
    Daughter: Não, minha mãe não briga….mas minha tia vai ter que arrumar meu quarto DE NOVO!

  5. Sarah says:

    make that “why would cheese be ORANGE, after all?”

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