Editor’s note: I wrote this last week, and well, quite frankly, I debated publishing it.
It’s a bit harsh and real. But you know…that’s me.
Tomorrow is the last day of school.
Another novella in the series of my sons’ lives coming to a close.
Ninth and seventh grade are over. Fini. Complete.
Of course, I will see ninth grade one more time with my youngest, revisiting geometry and biology for the third time in my life. My sons will not see these subjects again until they’re fathers of their very own brood.
By then, kids may be taking geometry in the fifth grade…with the need to push kids ahead (unless you’re concerned your kid will not be big enough for sports and you hold him/her back repeatedly).
It’s such a sad state of affairs these days. The pushing and pulling of kids to satiate our own need to believe our kids to be the best.
You may want to tell me to shut the eff up. After all, what do I know?
I will take ten seconds to substantiate my opinion.
- I have not one but two degrees in adolescent development. The second one being a post-graduate degree including a license to practice social work.
- I’ve been a parent of two radically different kids for fifteen years. Both going their own way, navigating their own course.
- Oh, before that…I worked with teen moms (before it was en vogue), suicidal teenagers, bipolar teens, preteens with special medical needs, and just plain old teens riddled with angst and mystery.
Anyway, I will continue. We live in a day and age where everyone needs a trophy, an award, and a hearty pat on the back. As a result, we can’t say anyone is the best. We continue to reward the weak, building them up with some inflated sense of self-worth …**without ever really helping them be stronger.
We push down the strong because they might, just might, make someone feel bad.
And, oh yeah, we push our kids ahead so we can say they’re “gifted” and we hold our kids back so we can say they’re “talented.”
All this pushing ahead and holding back is just another offspring of the trophy culture.
I went to kindergarten early at four, and not a damn person ever told me I was gifted. I was ready, and my mom needed to work…so I went. As a side note, I was the “biggest” in my class, and no one told me I was athletically talented or I should play ball because of my size.
Thank God, because I’m about as clutzy as they come and I can just see myself growing up now. I’d be pushed into some volleyball or basketball club for my size alone, never having to prove myself because five foot eleven speaks it’s own language when it comes to girls’ sports.
So, my kids are moving on in the grades they started after following cut-off dates and school requirements. I’m so proud of their hard-earned grades, some coming with tears and fights and partial points because of one reason or another.
Off to camp for one, volunteering and sports for the other. I will make them read about current events and the world we live in, and they will hate me. I will make them power down devices, and they will despise me even more. I will encourage them to be their best, surely telling them what they can improve upon. After all, they’re not perfect.