Education · Family life · Local

The 50% Rule


The teachers at our elementary school have said to me on more than one occasion that if we believe 50% of what our kids tell us at home about their day, then they will believe 50% of what our kids tell them at school.  There was the day Carver told Mrs. Rand that his only chore was bringing his dad a beer.  Clearly, not true.  There was also the day last year he told his kindergarten teacher that, as a family, we only played video games.  Not true.  I hate video games– profoundly, deeply.  After I posted the above photo to FB a few weeks ago, a mom friend asked Greta about the fringe.  She replied that she and her mom were making a Taylor Swift video.   Also, not true.  I believe 50% of her wanted to believe that was the truth.

Yesterday, Greta came home thrilled to talk about this new word her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Pamplin, had taught her.  “Mom,” she asks, “what’s your humbus?”

“Excuse me?” I inquire as I don’t pretend to know every word in the English language; but this was, indeed, a new one to me.

“Your humbus is what you are passionate about.  Everyone has a humbus.”

Now, going on about 12 or 13 years, I’ve known and believed Diana Pamplin to be the pinnacle kindergarten teacher, and there were days I sought refuge there, in kindergarten, for a little while when my “big” kids were, maybe, being less than ideal.  But in kindergarten, everyone wants to learn still, and, according to Greta, on more than one time in our conversation repeated, “Everyone has a humbus.”   I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, our school is filled with phenomenal teachers, but as a parent, I’m so glad both our kids have had or are currently having the “Mrs. Pamplin Experience.”

“Mom, what’s your humbus?”

Already I’m thinking that would be a hilarious name for a blog or even a tee shirt.  The word itself lends itself to a giggle as it is only one letter off from humbug or hummus.  And if you have the slightest lisp, like me (and the one my children have inherited) words which end in “s” or “us” are particularly challenging.

“Mom, are you listening to me?  What’s your humbus?” And there is this earnestness in her voice when she says the word which convinces me of its Greek or Latin root past which will compel me to look up after putting the kids to bed.

Not entirely sure how to answer, I turn the question back on her and ask about her personal humbus.  Or the humbus of her beloved teacher.

“Oh, that’s easy, Mom.  My humbus is drawing, painting, and making music.  Mrs. Pamplin’s humbus is sewing little doll clothes for her daughter Rachel’s doll collection.  Mom, what’s your humbus?”

Again, that funny word.

So, I share with her that I love to be outside in the woods, swim in the ocean, or play soccer on really thick green grass. She considers this; we read a story, and the kids go to bed.  I immediately look up the word only to learn that “humbus” is a sexual fetish involving hummus.  Interesting no doubt– and clearly NOT the word Mrs. Pamplin taught our little girl at school.

I do what every parent does in 2016; I text her teacher at 9 pm and ask what word it was she discussed with the class that also means “one’s passion, or interest”.  Her poor teacher was trying to go to sleep.  Yet, she replies after my vivid denotative description of what the word “humbus” actually means that the word she taught them at school that day was, instead, “HOBBIES.” Ah, a parenting lightbulb moment.  Hobbies.  How simple.  How innocent.  How not a sexual fetish involving hummus.  The fact that I even know that now is bizarre.

The 50% rule.  Crucial.  What else will our kids tell their teachers?  I can only imagine…  But I’m glad they have them, and we are clearly not the worst parents our kids could have needed when all is said and done.  I will continue to believe roughly 50% of what Carver and Greta tell me takes place over the course of the school day; my only hope is that their teachers will continue to extend to us the same courtesy.

What’s your humbus?  Come on, the word itself is far better to say than hobby.

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