Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lunch

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.

13 comments:

NYD said...

For some; love means hiding behind a facade of pretense. Telling yourself that everything is ok just to keep the boat from rocking too much.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great you're still in touch with one of your teachers. I wish I had even one that I feel made an impact on my life. I think you nailed it when you said we tend to treat the symptom rather than the cause. The cause, more often than not, is painful and most people tend to shy away from pain. Kind of sad, isn't it, because I think we'd all be a little better off if honesty (no matter what the cost) were a bigger part of every life. Have a wonderful holiday. leigh

Logophile said...

When my kids get bad grades I assume their teacher is just being a bitch.
:p
I'm glad you figured your own self out eventually. Sometimes kids don't and that is always a tragedy.

Christielli said...

I think a lot of times parents may be blind to the fact that something deeper is going on because believing you're not trying is easier for them to handle. I think we all put on psychological blinders about our loved ones.

I wonder if I'll ever have lunch with any of the kids who have failed my class...

Christielli said...

ps We totes should start a Simpsons fanclub, although I guess our constant references to that show are kind of like a Simpsons fan club.

Did you know that I own Simspsons Jeopardy, but it's never once been played because no one has enough balls to try to take me on.

Jay said...

At least you recognize the opportunity you now have to learn from this guy. That's a lot further than most get.

Julie Schuler said...

I already can't help my son with all his problems, and he's only 4.
Ultimate aloneness, discrete embodiment, a sad and beautiful world.

The Grunt said...

Thanks for your comments, everybody. I'm a bit tired, so that's all for now.

vera said...

i was too scared to not try to get good grades even though i was an emotional wreck during those years. my parents' wrath scared the ever-living-bajeezus out of me. in hindsight it was all a rather ridiculous notion to be *that* fearful of my parents, they never beat me or anything physical... just emotionally and verbally clawed the crap out of me. i guess, subconsciously, i knew that if i got decent grades in my classes i'd have a much higher chance of escaping to a better kind of life... *shrug*

/vera

Chris said...

Parenting is tough. These little people don't come with owner's manuals. We do the best we can and hope and pray that we don't screw things up.

Jules said...

How can you possibly say that you won't have any children? That makes me sad, Grunty. If you want to move to Red Deer, I've got a really nice woman who you should meet. She's already got 2 kids...

Karyn said...

You are right on the money. If I didn't already adore and respect you, this post would have got the job done all by its onesies.

Tys on Ice said...

i think its fear that makes us lie in love....fear of hurting someones feeling, fear of rejection, fear of judgement, fear of being misunderstood etc....personally i feel sometimes there is one person in a relationship who is asking to be lied to becoz they can deal with the truth...so they get wht they deserve and want...lies...

u r rite, lunch is a bitch