I had lunch today with the teacher who gave me my first of many "F" grades I got in school. This was in the fifth grade. We didn't talk about that, but we both remember it.
It is weird that this old guy and I are friends now. I've never told him how much that F made me feel like I was a failure. In reality, that F should have been the flag that got my parents attention that I was not doing well in my person, not that I was having a hard time with schoolwork.
I don't have hard feelings about it because I earned that F and it was my teacher's job to report that I was not doing any work. That should have been enough for grownups to ask why. It wasn't. Neither were the subsequent years up to my senior year in high school. Ultimately, it was I who decided to get good enough grades, go to summer and night school, to graduate, barely.
My parents did ask, but it was more like "Why can't you do better? You are smart." It didn't seem like there was an understanding that more was going on than just sloughing off school work. So, I eventually just hid my report cards and shut myself off from them.
It seems so obvious to me that if I have a child who tests high, gets top grades, then all of a sudden gets .08 GPAs that there is something seriously a matter with my child other than they got a bad grade. Too many times we treat symptoms, rather than the cause. Are we afraid of truth? I think that to truly love someone means to embrace the possibility of dealing with the fact that we are the cause and that we are the ones failing. I love my parents. I've learned a lot of things from their mistakes. The irony is that I probably won't have any children to practice what I've learned on. That's a possibility that troubles me.
Man, lunch is a bitch sometimes.
4 years ago