Yesterday, while shopping at The Hellmouth, I got a call from the Man-Cub's math teacher. She was organizing her classes and had noticed that the Cub was scheduled for her advanced math class rather than for the regular eighth-grade math class that she had expected him to be in. Since she was concerned about his ability to handle what is essentially a high-school level class, she pulled his most recent standardized test scores (HURL) which indicated that the Cub was proficient at the eighth-grade level, but, just barely. This discovery led her to suggest to me that we place the Cub in the regular class due to her concern that he might not be just quite ready yet for the higher level class.
I agreed with her suggestion for a number of reasons:
One: the Cub doesn't need high school math credit, he has four years of high school in which to achieve that goal.
Two: if he tanks at the class, not only will he not get high school credit, but, his GPA will plummet.
Three: I don't want him to struggle; I want him to work confidently at a level at which he excels.
Four: I trust his teacher to know what is best for him; she has worked with him since the sixth grade and she knows his strengths and his weaknesses.
The Man-Cub, as it turns out, didn't agree with this turn of events at all. In fact, he was quite upset with both me and the teacher. He really, really wanted to take the advanced class and he really, really, believes that he can do it. It must also be noted that he made no effort to hide his irritation with me for taking his teacher's side; have I no faith in him? Do I think he's stupid? Seriously; he spent the next two hours weeping in a fashion more dramatic than anything I've yet seen from his hormonally challenged teenaged sister. It was ugly.
And, I'm wavering.
Ok, not really. I still trust the teacher's gut instinct on this. I do, however, feel more than a little bit guilty about not supporting the Cub's aspirations, I mean; what does that say about me as a parent? If he believes that he can do something (anything), isn't it my job to support and encourage him? Even if his GPA does tank? And, will he always remember this as a situation in which I doubted his intelligence? Because that would break my heart.
And, I didn't stop, there; yesterday also saw me fail in an epic way when it came to teaching my daughter the value of school spirit. See, every year, the volleyball and football teams host a car wash as a fundraiser. The kids got their tickets on Monday (well, the football team got theirs on Friday, but; that is a rant for another day); they are required to sell ten tickets at ten dollars, apiece. The Teenager has sold all of hers, mostly to friends and family. That's great, right? School spirit! Yay!
Um, yeah. Upon hearing her coach's observation about her being "barely in the running" for a spot on the team, I commanded her to hold off on turning in the ticket money until after final cuts are announced later today. Because, if she gets cut; I am returning the money to our friends and family, collecting the tickets, and returning them to the coach.
And, in that moment, I taught my daughter that pettiness trumps school spirit.
It's going to take years of therapy to fix this shit, is what I'm thinking. Too bad I neglected to start a therapy fund for the kids when I started their college funds.
Oh, great! Another FAIL.