A new generation of Trakkies...
Motivating Kindergarten kids to learn English as a second language is not always easy and a picture or story about a farm life scene usually does the trick.
" Kids, this is a cow, this is a donkey, this is a sheep and there is a tractor. What colour is it? " " No! This is a John Deere and it is green."
Granted, we live in a farming community but surely not every tractor can be a John Deere? But so it seems. Often I overhear the boys telling each other ( in German of course ) about how they had driven a John Deere that day. Depending on the age of the storyteller, the question is often lobbied back by the listener...
" Not a real John Deere? It doesn't count when you mean the one in the Kindergarten. I drive it daily! "
At that stage those little boys can become rather loud and fisticuffs are never that far off. The real badge of merit and manliness seems to be a ride on a real John Deere. Not the smaller version lurking in Kindergartens and playrooms nation wide. Shouts of
" I don't believe you. You are making this up! "are frequent and it takes all my might to channel their thoughts on to more pleasant things... like helicopters. Although, this too can lead down a braggery slope.
Now and then a granddad is roped in to pick up a the apple of his grandfatherly eye from English. Just to quell my curiosity, I ask about this John Deere story because we all know how inventive a child's imagination is. Gosh, and most of the John Deere adventure stories do tend to be true.
Usually the only one having the patience to drive around with a 5 year old boy, are the granddads. Driving on a tractor requires utter obedience and silence and the boys are so very excited that they behave like angels anyway.
A few mothers have caught on to the real value of driving with granddad on a tractor. Now and again they leave their boys with me and only utter one possible punishment:
" I am going to ask Biggi if you behaved today. Otherwise you can't go with Opa on the John Deere! "and you know what, bribery like this one seems to work a treat. Thank you, John Deere!