Friday, May 20, 2016

In Praise of The "Other Kids"

“Misfits deal with the double-edged reality of having our differences act as the source of both our challenges as well as our successes.”
― Tiffany L. Jackson

My kid got booted out of the chorus concert last night.  Jettisoned. Discarded.  Heaved. Cast off.  Now, I was CAREFULLY watching my kid almost 100% of the time.  Studying him.  Wondering why he wasn't moving his lips more.  I mean, I've sung a LOT and I'm always smiling, enunciating and having a grand time.  However, since he claims that his teacher has "ruined music" for him, I suppose I can understand why he wasn't a little more engaged.

I didn't see any behavior last night that would warrant a boot.  Granted, he can come up with some sarcastic zingers out of the blue (I don't know WHERE HE GETS THAT FROM?) and I obviously couldn't HEAR everything.  But, he didn't seem to be doing anything other than looking like an uncomfortable teenager on the stage.  Since that teacher has his dad and me on speed dial, I could only assume that he had done something in class earlier to warrant this humiliating exit off the stage.  (Note:  No children were harmed in this incident.  She booted him quickly and quietly during a break between songs.  The Thing who left the stage expressed extreme pleasure at not having to endure the exquisite motor-skills on display as his classmates awkwardly maneuvered through "Somebody to Love.") 

The whole matter got me thinking about school and my kids.

They are not good at the whole school thing.  They just aren't.  They're SMART.  And they're funny and polite and (mostly) respectful.  They have kind hearts and they are quick to defend the underdog.  But, let's face it: they suck at school.

I, on the other hand, was GREAT at school.  Kids had to dodge my flailing arms as they shot up to answer question after question.  I LOVED A's.  And I loved praise.  And it came easy for me.  I was a STAR at school.

Until there wasn't school anymore.  Then, well...I sucked at LIFE.  There were no more tests or gold stars or "This is EXCELLENT WORK."  There were still deadlines.  But there were no 100% right answers anymore.  This left me stymied.  And I fumbled around for many years seeking the gold star and the teacher who would acknowledge my raised hand.

So is there a correlation between kids who suck at school and become great at life?  I PERSONALLY know more people than I can count on one hand who didn't shine at school but who became rock stars at life. That kid who got thrown out of class by the academically gifted teacher and forced to sit outside in his desk? He owns his own business.  Those smart kids who didn't care about the grades have become successful engineers, managers, and business owners who travel all over the world.

I resigned myself a long time ago to the fact that my kids won't get awards on awards day.  They won't be celebrated in the hallowed halls of early education.  They are one of the "other kids."  But this morning, I'm a little excited.  Because while they may not be living up to the traditional standard of excellence, I know they have a good foundation.  They're good PEOPLE even if they aren't great STUDENTS.  And if we can offer up the first 18-22 years of their life as a sacrifice, I think it's a good trade if they can take the years of disappointing mediocrity and turn them into a lifetime of success.

So, to the teacher who kicked my kid out in the middle of the concert last night:  thank you. Thank you for opening my eyes to the fact that this stage isn't the only stage.   My kid is a good kid.  And your choice last night was yours...I hope it made all the difference to you. 

Rock on, young men.  The world awaits.

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1 comment:

  1. Kelly, your blog entry about the disconnect between school success and real life success is wonderful. I've stopped reading most other blogs, but I still enjoy reading your posts.