Growing up, I was ridiculously forgetful of things. So much so, my dad drove back with me to school atleast once a week if not more to pick up what I left. I have come back home with one shoe. I have come back with just the lid of my lunch box. Yes, you may wonder- how is this even possible. But it is. It is.
My wife on the other hand, does not remember losing anything as a child. While that is an exaggeration, the broader point is that she was very mindful of her possessions.
Here is the twist in the tale – I have a pretty solid memory. I rarely forget. Today, one of my biggest strengths is my memory. My wife on the other hand wishes that she had my memory. So where is this all leading to – our almost 8-year old.
My son is like most other kids. Or so I think. He lives in his own world. Often times, we need to jolt him out of it to tell him to do the mundane stuff. He is cooking up the next greatest weapon in the world to attack the bad guys or a rocket to take him to Saturn. Drinking his milk and getting ready to school on time are not in his priority list. Ever.
He recently forgot his jacket in school. This is the second time this year that he has lost something in school. My wife was trying to decipher this and I told her that it was absolutely normal for his age, and almost pedestrian going by my track record. She disagreed with my definition of normal and I went the crowdsourcing route. The results were unsurprising and proved my point, strongly. So here we go.
Study and Results
This was the question I posed on Facebook and to a couple of Whatsapp groups. Remember that this is a purely unscientific poll.
A small poll for parents of kids between 5 and 15 if you will indulge me. Respond with a number based on what applies best to you.
1. My child never loses things in school.
2. My child loses things but rarely (1-2 items per school year)
3. My child loses things quite often (5-6 items per school year)
4. Don’t get me started. My child loses a lot (10 or more items per school year).
Items could be lunch bags, water bottles, sweatshirts, or similar items.
Thanks in advance.
So what did we learn? Here are the raw results, 5 hours after I asked the question.
On an average, kids forget between 2-5 items in a school year. Boys were closer to 4 (2.5 approximating to a number between 2 (option 2) and 5 (option 3) while girls were closer to 2. Yes, boys lost twice as much as girls, going by this data set. Based on personal experiences, this can be a surprise or not. From our household’s history, this seems to be par for the course and expected.
So what does this tell us?
Here is the real deal. Kids lose stuff. This is natural. In their precious childhood, it is but most natural for them to forget about trivial things like water bottles and sweatshirts and live in their wonderful cocoon filled with imagination and boundless possibility. If I could live in one such world and in the process end up losing a thing or two, I would gladly make the trade.
My own transition from being a kid who never had his bearings to one with a strong memory and a solid habit of writing daily notes, todos and priority lists (which I learnt from my wife :)) should bear testament to the fact that what they are as kids is not necessarily what they will be as adults.
If there is one takeaway from this study- it is this. The next time your kids forgets something or loses something, think about this study. And the responses of many many parents who are in the same boat as you are. This is just your kid being a kid. Nothing more. Nothing less. Let them be. They will turn out just fine.