After I had posted my blog on Weinergate, I received an e-mail from a columnist at the Washington Post who also was writing on this issue and its impact on kids. While doing her research, she googled Weiner +teaching moment, and my blog appeared at the top of her search, and she contacted me. She wanted permission to excerpt a piece of the blog for her column. As a high schooler (me) who never rose above a C in English, having something of mine published in the Washington Post was a huge thrill. Take that Mr S (my sophomore and junior year English teacher)
Here is my point. When I was in high school I was told I was a terrible writer. I took that definition of myself along to college, and graduate school, procrastinating, and struggling with every single writing assignment. Until I started to realize that actually I was a good writer who had let one man's opinion of me define how I felt about myself. Some of us are just late bloomers!
I have several friends whose kids really struggled in high school. They struggled with the material, had ADD, found much of the subject areas boring and unnecessary, had test anxiety and struggled to keep their grades up. They often felt disregarded and criticized by their teachers, and to say that they lacked motivation as a result is to put it mildly. What these kids did have however, were parents who believed in them unconditionally, and never actually felt worried, or if they did, never communicated that worry to their kids that they might not ever do "well enough" to succeed in college and after. These parents ability to know that their kids would find their way, and that their school difficulties did not need to define them sent their kids off to college to find their way. And find their way they did. Luckily the schools they chose matched the kind of educational stimulation that was right for them. These kids discovered that they are intelligent, motivated, and capable of doing good work. Why because they found "work" that was meaningful too them, and they also grew up some.
So for those of you, who at this school year's end are fretting and worrying that your teens lack of motivation has impacted their ability to reach the grade point average that you want them to, and feel discouraged, worry not, they may be one of us, one of those late-bloomers. Take note that those people who were the star students in High School often DO NOT turn out to be the most successful people in life. Sometimes it's those of us, who find out later how great we really are, and find teachers, or colleagues or friends or partners and most importantly parents who believe in us and understand that we all have potential. It takes love, understanding, and most of all patience. This last report card may suck, but next year is a new year, fresh with possibility. And if next year is their senior year, try not to worry. There are schools enough for everyone. Of course you need to have expectations for your teen, make sure they are realistic, make sure they know you love them and you believe in them, even when their grades are less than you expected. High School is really only the very beginning of their life, what comes after lasts way longer, and bears the most fruit. Just ask me!