Anything & Everything

February 15, 2008

Not At All What I Expected…

Funny how life plays these little tricks on us. The things we worry about… discuss at length and stress over aren’t the ones that get us after all. It truly is like that poem that’s crumpled and torn on my fridge. “The real troubles of your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 10am on some idle Tuesday.”

Before any of my children entered school, I worried and wondered at the opportunities my daughters would get. I didn’t want them to be short-changed, to be ignored or thwarted in what they wanted to pursue. You see, back then (late 90’s) there was a lot of talk about girls not being as encouraged, or given the same help, in math and science as boys were. Equality of education… of opportunity, that’s what we needed.

I was a zealous guardian of my daughters’ rights in those early years of elementary school. I encouraged. I assisted. I supported and explained. And I’m proud to say both girls seem to be pretty well rounded in terms of the subjects they like and  the opportunities they have to apply themselves. Guess equal education does work after all. 

But before I could truly congratulate myself on a job well done, I brought a thrid, a son this time, to elementary school one bright September day. Of course, I wasn’t worried about his opportunities. I wasn’t afriad he’d get pigeon-holed or left behind. He was a boy. The favored sex. The son and heir. 

Except, much to my chagrin, he is suffering from an inequality in education that no one talks about, or would dare think about in these days of political correctness and inclusion. He’s a boy. Boys work differently than girls. From the start, no matter what, they are just different. Let’s face it, accept it and move on. Boys are loud. Boys are clusmy. Boys don’t care if they know their “A, B, C’s” or not. Boys run, talk out of turn, push and jostle each other.

The trouble for my son is that he is a boy, in an age, and a school system where being a compliant, people pleasing girl is expected and required.

My son, an average eight year old, has had to write not one, not two, but THREE aplogy notes this year. And it’s not even March!

What, you might be thinking, has this kid done. He must be a real discipline problem and Mom doesn’t know it, right? You be the judge, here are the offenses to date….

  1. sticking pencils in the glue sticks during art – note to the art teacher
  2. telling a buddy that a teacher was “the meanest teacher in the whole school” because she told him to stop talking at lunch – note to the lunch monitor, who is a very nice woman I’m sure.
  3. taking on a dare to look into the girls bathroom. The worst part, “I didn’t even see anything, the door barely moved!” – note to two lunch monitors this time, who I can only assume, were not in the bathroom at the time of the intrusion.

Now I’m certainly not encouraging misbehavior, or sanctioning it either, but this seems a bit over the top, don’t you think? Seems strange that the school system that adapted and changed to address the different ways girls learn, isn’t able to make allowances for the noisy, brash, boisterous children we know as boys? 

Funny the tricks life plays on us, eh? Instead of fighting for my daughters’ rights to equal opportunities, I’ll be fighting for fair treatment for my son.

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