My Dream Second Grader

» Every parent, I would imagine, who happens to be raising a child that is a product of a broken home .. hopes and prays that their break-up does not affect their children ..

Baloo and Mogli | Jungle Book.. that parental discord and an inability-to-get-along .. does not infect the development of their vulnerable little lives.

For me, at least, this has been a major concern.

I mean, how can you not feel responsible? As a parent. They not only get your genes, but you nurture them for a couple decades ..

.. before sending them off to fend for themselves in the big, bad world.

In other words, no matter which side of the nature vs nurture debate you prefer .. it's still YOU. You the parent.

And who wants to be responsible for screwing up the life of another? Much less the life of a child ..

.. children who have not yet developed the skills necessary to defend themselves .. from the wiles of bad parents and their bad parenting. (Not to mention screwing up the lives of your OWN.)

If you've read the Parenting literature that's out there, then you know that such 'infections' are not unusual. Not uncommon. Not at all.

Back in my early days of parenthood, people (experienced parents) told me »

» "If you're going to break up, it's best to do it when they're still young. This way the kids dont feel like it's their fault .. and they'll know nothing else."

The Bug had not yet completed a single trip around the sun when his parents separated. (Not even six months old, actually.)

Pooh & Christopher Robin walk off into the Hundred Acre sunsetSo .. he knows nothing else .. other than going back and forth .. between his mom and his dad ..

.. who are naturally very grateful for the time they get to spend with him. (He *is* the coolest kid.) Absense does indeed make the heart grow fonder.

Myself, I try hard to give him all the love and affection and attention that I can muster .. in order to [ try to ] compensate .. for the things he has been thru .. as a result.

[ How can you ever really make it up, tho? Real-life Mission Impossible. But it would be a sin to not even TRY. No?

How else can a parent ever LIVE with themself? .. to look themselves in the mirror and not be disgusted by what they see staring back?

Even if you might crash-n-burn or die trying .. you still gotta mount-up Sky Ranger. ]

I get down on his level. I look him in the eye. I try to be present (.. without smoothering).

I go to great lengths to make sure he knows that he's important to me. Very important. "You're the BEST thing that ever happened to me," I tell him .. countless times. (And I meant it every time.)

••• today's entry continues here below •••

One of the best dads I ever met said, "Find out what your kids like to do and go do THAT with them. Dont try to make them do what YOU want to do .. or what YOU want them to do. Is it about you? Or THEM?"

Pooh & Piglet looking for butterflies» "Introduce me to your teacher."

"Introduce me to your teacher," I said, while picking him up at school last week.

I even put on a nice shirt for the occasion.

[ I used to take him to school 3 days every week. Both to & from. ]

After school he normally just wants to go run off and play.

His teacher was disciplining another student when we arrived at the classroom. The student's grandmother was also there.

I knew her from a student play that I attended last year, having sat beside her. So I knew this student also came from a broken home. (Sad story. It's so not fair to these kids.)

There were also a couple of girls there, classmates, who the Bug started playing with, when one came up and said, "Tag! You're it!"

The teacher came over when she finished talking to the boy and his grandma. The two girls each grabbed ahold of her and gave her a hug (.. one on each side, quite a telling image) .. which told me that the teacher was appreciated by her students (.. and comfortable with physical affection).

We made small talk after the introductions while the kids were running around, playing. I turned slightly so my back was to the Bug and established lock-on eye-contact. "So how's he doin'?" I asked quietly.

She grabbed him as he ran by, chasing one of the girls. "Come here," she said, holding his shoulders. "I'm gonna say this right in front of you."

Pooh, Tigger and the Hundred Acre gang» My Little Dream Student

"He's not just a _good_ student," she said, with the Bug standing between us. "He's a DREEEAM student!"

"How much did he pay you to say that?" I asked, trying to look serious.

"Heck, when I was a kid, teachers wouldnt lie for less than twenty bucks. And they always seemed to want more from me."

That was a week ago .. and I'm STILL feeling wonderfully groovy .. an extraordinary sense of satisfaction .. as tho my exhausting, dogged determination is paying off.

» USC & Trojan Rapport

His teacher was wearing a USC lanyard, at the end of which dangled a few keys.

"USC?" I asked, pointing at the lanyard, after he ran off again.

"I used to date a girl who went to Grad school there," I said. "Film school. Maybe the best Film school in the world, they tell me. I tagged along to classes with her every now & then."

I was able to name-drop some of the professors whose classes I'd sat in on. I'd even been invited to parties up in LA .. at the homes of some professors (Film school professors). So I was able to establish rapport (.. seeing his teacher was also a proud graduate of USC).

I left feeling very good about her, him, and everything. Thankful .. very thankful. And I'm still feelin' good. (If there were a problem, I know she would've told me .. cuz I saw her talking to the other boy and his grandma.)

"I'm very proud of you," I said, as we walked out. "And NOT because of what she said, either. Because I know you WAY better than she does."

Pooh & Christopher Robin walk off into the Hundred Acre sunsetI was going to tell him how he should never let anyone's opinion of him (good or bad) ever limit him.

But before I could finish, he said [ in typical Bug fashion ] » "Can we go to In-n-Out, dad?" =) Kids.

» Academia Sans Challengia

Myself, I was never really challenged in school. Not academically, anyway. It wasnt until the Navy's Nuclear Power school that I felt challenged.

Even college wasnt much of a challenge (.. academically speaking) .. which I completed over a period of 10 years .. while working full-time (.. selling my body for Rad dollars).

Calculus was probably the hardest class, academically. Or maybe Chemistry (7-unit class with lab). Those were some exhausting exams.

[ I once had a dude offer to pay me $500 .. to take Calculus for him. "You already know it," he said. "You just have to show up for the exams and the final."

He needed the class for a certificate .. in order to get a rai$e at work. He was in my first Calculus class, but flunked (twice).

I forget his name. But I remember that I gave him an herbal stimulant .. pick-me-up .. before the first exam.

That was a bad idea. Too much anxiety .. cuz they give you questions that test your ability to apply concepts taught .. secret questions that you've never seen before.

And if you draw a blank on devising a solution .. the stimulant freaks you out. Little beads of sweat form on your forehead.

We both agreed standing outside after the exam that it was NOT a good idea. =) ]

The real challenge with college was more one of » time management (.. of which Brian Tracy has the most effective techniques / method I've found) ..

.. seeing there were simply not enough hours in the day .. particularly when we worked 12-hour days (.. six-days-a-week).


My college transcripts contain all A's, with 3 B's (.. no C's. And all the B's were borderline-A's.)

In other words, I was kicking academic ass and taking academic names .. while holding down a full-time job, which included many long hours .. limited only by federal NRC guidelines.


So maybe you can see why I've always been a little jealous of kids who didnt have to work their way thru college. How cool *that* must be. ■

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on October 24, 2012 10:24 AM.

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