I decided to read the boys’ interim reports just before running out to our 13-year old’s basketball game. My focus was on the comments about the youngest, our sixth-grader. “Distracted.” “Distracting.” “Distracts.” Do you sense a theme?
Dear friends of ours were kind enough to listen to my fury both during and after
the game. I recognize that my reaction was a tad severe but here is my defense.
The other three kids saved any impulsive behavior for home, choosing to behave
like angels in class. OK, that might be a stretch. The girls were angelic in class
and the 13-year old sits in the back and stays off the radar. Either approach
delivers the same result.
Our youngest seems to be a man of many words in class, a trait he inherits
honestly from me. He is also the largest sixth grader in our district, so the
chance of him ever going unnoticed in the classroom is extremely slim. Last
week he somehow got his shoelace stuck under one of the legs of his desk.
Instead of inconspicuously moving his foot, he decided to lift the entire desk off
of the floor. Did I mention that he sits in the front of the room? At least Brian
thought it was funny.
To be fair, the teachers also notice that he has a heart of gold and he will never
utter a mean word about anyone. Good for him. While those traits are
lovely, I still have no idea how I will survive reading his report cards for the
next six years. You see, all of our children have been raised knowing that their
reputation, until they leave for college, has as much to do with them as with ME.
After almost twenty years of carrying on about such topics, you would think the
youngest would have my mantras tattooed on his brain. “The only time I expect
you to go to the principal’s office is if you are getting an award” is one of my
favorites. There is also the soon to be famous, “You may be equal to me in the
eyes of God but never in this house.” For medical emergencies, the nurses have
been told over the years to call me if one of my darlings has “vomited twice or is
bleeding to death.” I once told a wonderful teacher that if the youngest were to
misbehave in class please do not call me until he sits in the principal’s office long enough to be terrified that I am entering the building. The poor man retired the next year.
Is our youngest bored in some of his classes? Maybe. Do I care? No. Is it
a matter of allowing maturity and some semblance of common sense kick in?
Probably. I still don’t care. I gently broached the subject of his attention span in
class to him two weeks ago by announcing that all electronic devices were banned
until further notice. After a full week of this he now gets the point. Or, at least
until the next report card comes home.