Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Other Son

Last night I was out with two very good friends at my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world . . .Fuddruckers! I get an endless supply of Diet Coke with lemon and ice at this restaurant, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. We spent 4 1/2 hours eating, drinking and talking. It was wonderful.

Partway through the evening I called home for messages. There was a message from Ty's teacher, asking me to call her at the school within the next few minutes. She left the message at 8:00 p.m. and asked me to call her before 8:15 p.m. When I looked at my watch, 8:15 p.m. had already passed, so I couldn't return her call right then. And she didn't give me permission to call her at home. So, I opted to call her this morning before school instead.

After retrieving the phone message, my mind was restless. I kept thinking to myself, "What is going on with Ty? Has he done something wrong? Is he in trouble? Am I going to have to have a meeting with the teacher about Ty's chatting problem too?" Due to Mitchell's recent issues, a myriad of thoughts entered my mind as to why Ty's teacher was calling me; probably because all she said in the message was, "Hi, Kim. This is Blah Blah and I'm just calling to talk to you about . . . (pause in her sentence; hesitation in her voice) Ty. Please call me back . . . ."

When I got home I asked Wayne if Ty had indicated to him any problem that had occurred at school that day. Wayne said no, Ty was happy-go-lucky that evening, as per normal. When Ty got up this morning I questioned him on his day yesterday, asking him if there was anything he needed to report to me about his day at school. He said that everything was good in school yesterday.

So, fine. I let it go. The boys got on the bus and I called the school in hopes to talk to Ty's teacher before the school day started.

All my worrying was for nothing. And you'd think that by now, maybe, just maybe, I'd realize that teachers don't always call parents because their child is in trouble. Sometimes they call parents to tell them that their child is excelling and needs to move ahead of the general population in the grade 1 class.

That's what that call was about. Ty's teacher has been doing some individual testing on the kids and has determined that a lot of the grade 1 work that Ty is being assigned is not challenging enough for him, and she wants to move him ahead into grade 2 work, particularly in the areas of spelling and reading. She was calling to get my permission to do this.

Of course, I told her yes. But I'm not sure how all of this is going to affect Ty. He is bothered by the fact that kids have labeled him as "The Smartest Kid in the Class". While we definitely want to encourage his academic development, there can be a down-side to this when it comes to peer relationships. As parents we expect our boys to put in the maximum effort in all subjects in order to produce maximum results. They've been instructed to do the work to the best of their abilities and not to compare themselves to the other kids. But it's kind of hard for Ty to avoid comparisons when the other kids are doing it for him.

My fear in all of this is that instead of Ty viewing this as a good thing, he is going to intentionally not do well because he just wants to be like the rest of the kids.

I am inwardly jumping for joy. I'm very proud of all three of my boys. They've all been blessed with brains that work very well. They all excel in different areas. I have embraced their strengths and am trying to nurture these areas into the highest growth potential. That means a different educational approach for each one of the boys.

I personally was a student who strived for academic excellence. My husband did not. But you know what? If we were to take an I.Q. test, he'd beat me by a long shot. School was not his thing. School was my thing. I see a lot of Wayne in Thomas and Mitchell and I see a lot of myself in Ty. Have Wayne and I both succeeded in life? Yes, we have. Wayne may not have a university education, but he has an excellent job that provides for our family. I have post-secondary training, but right now I'm not even working.

Everyone has a niche that they must discover, nurture, and allow to grow and develop into something that provides satisfaction in their life. I really want that for my boys.


stacey said...


e-Mom said...

Spring has sprung here on your blog! I like the pink template, and I sense your lifted spirits. Praise God!

I agree 100% that we're all gifted differently, and some are more academic than others. (I tend to be the "studious" one in our marriage too.) Congrats to little Ty!