Thursday, 3 July 2008

Five Ways To Impress A Primary School Student (Part 2)

Four: Make A Pencil-Sharpening Rosette

All children spend half their school-life sharpening a pencil. While in the classroom, the chance to get up and leave behind your maths papers filled with strange things like fractions is all too rare, so most children will wait until most of their pencils are worn down (or if they are slightly criminal, will snap the leads off personally) before trundling over to the bin to get their sharpen on. Several children will usually go at once, prompting discussions of what they are planning on doing during break-time (inevitably the response is “run at things”) and competitions. Who can sharpen a pencil fastest, who can make their pencil the sharpest – this is traditionally judged by a third child who stabs the others to see who screams loudest – and this. Making a rosette out of the sharpening. The concept here is that as you sharpen the pencil, you don’t let the sharpening get cut off, so it curls round into a few layers and forms a rosette. It’s a difficult thing to do, one that requires much practise, but if achieved will get you much credit from both girls and boys.

Why This Impresses Children:

Children have a basic need to ignore doing work. It is as biological as the disgust all men feel when they see a fat woman, as an example. Or when men see a pregnant woman, or a woman who cuts her hair too short. There are many different ways that men are turned off women, is the point here and they all correlate to how children are turned off working. If you can do something that not only shows off an impressive skill that not everyone can do; AND helps them to waste time legitimately, then children will hold you dear to their hearts forevermore. One way to up this, however, is to have a pencil which is made up of about ten different leads that pop up out the top and fit in through the bottom. Over-elaborate stationary is fascinating to children, for the same reason – it provides them with something to look at during class that isn’t English grammar.

Five: Buy Them Things

Naturally, parents grow tired of having to perform tasks and show off in order to gain the respect of their kids. This is why children were created by whatever it is that lurks ‘up there’ (although as the world is spherical, the idea of something living ‘up there’ is a little outdated, wouldn’t you say?) with the single personality affliction that is universal: they want things. Most importantly, they want the things that are on the other side of the TV screen or shop window, which have big flashy price labels on them and which hopefully have articulated parts to them. Every child has always wanted these, from the girl who wants a Barbie Campervan which has a working sink to the boy whose Action Man can fire a missile from his crotch. Or sweets. Sweets are always a good thing as far as children are concerned. Buy them sweets, and they will love you for a long time. For ultimate love, however, you can buy one of two things. For a boy, buy them a games console with one super-violent game attached. For a girl, buy them a pony which they only have to go and see every two or three months and don’t have to look after. You’ll be their best friend forever.

Why This Impresses Children:

Don’t analyse it! Just go with it!

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