Yesterday morning I sat next to my son at the orientation for middle school and tried not to get into trouble for heckling the administrators. Yeah, I know, dad is supposed to set a good example for the kids so heckling the people who were boring us to sleep wasn’t really a good thing to do.
The good news is that said heckling was imaginary. It only took place in my head, but had I actually shared what I was thinking I am sure I would have gotten a lot of laughs.
In the interest of full disclosure there were two reasons why I didn’t heckle these fine folks:
- I didn’t want my son to be stuck with the consequences of my actions. I am prepared to live with what I do, but that is my choice.
- I wanted the damn thing to end sooner than later. Heckling wasn’t going to help.
The teenage boy who lives inside my body wants to know when he turned into an old man. He has fond memories of the days when we were a class clown and I suppose that the old man does too.
But my son is not me and I am good with that.
I never had a problem being the center of attention. I never had a problem raising my hand and answering questions. Sonny boy (that sounds kind of silly) would prefer not to be called upon…ever.
He doesn’t want the attention, but it is not because he doesn’t know the answers. During school conferences his teachers have always said that he is an excellent student who follows along and provides the correct answer when called upon. They also said they would like to see him participate more.
Great Googly Moogly
Great Googly Moogly, I have a kid going into middle school. I am not nearly old enough for this to be the case. My driver’s license says that I am 43 but I swear I am around 19. Ok, maybe not. All I have to do is look in the mirror and I can see I am not.
Curse you 19 year-old metabolism for running away. If I ever catch you I am going to kick your ass…twice.
While I sat there listening to the school administrators discuss policy and procedures two things came to mind:
- I like the school and feel good. I think my son will do well there.
- Some policies were written by rabid monkeys who were high on crack. WTF were they thinking.
I won’t lie and say I am not nervous about middle school because I am. I won’t say anything to my son about this because I know he is nervous and I want him to be confident. I am confident about his ability to adapt and am sure he will be fine, but sometimes dads worry.
It was a big day here today. Fans of Being A Mom linked to A Letter To My Children-2011 and as a result this joint got a significant bump in traffic. I am grateful for that, but I admit that it reminded me a bit of the old days when I would get unexpected visitors at my apartment.
I am not a slob, but people only showed up on the days when the apartment looked like it belonged to a single twenty something year old man who used paper plates, had a refrigerator filled with cold pizza and beer and a bed that never seemed to get made.
The difference between then and now is that I am far more cognizant of the impact that first impressions can have. Back then I would have laughed it off and said that people can like me or dislike me. It really doesn’t matter.
In many ways I am still that guy but the difference is that I am working towards something now that will have a significant impact upon my life and my children.
My goal is to use this blog to help me become a writer who supports his family through the words he publishes. The goal is to publish novels and to take the stories that are being written over here that can be used for something more.
So when the traffic spike hit I was excited but part of me was frustrated that I couldn’t pop in and tidy up so that I could make the sort of first impression I wanted to.
Middle School Then And Now
After orientation ended we took some time to wander around the school and get a feel for it. It is not the school I went to but it looks just like it. My son asked me what I remembered about my time in middle school and I told him about how back then I wanted to play centerfield for the Dodgers. I was sure it would happen, but sadly it didn’t.
I asked him if he knew what he wanted to do when he grew up and he said no. I said that it was ok and told him that sometimes it takes a bit longer to figure out what we really want to do, but I left out the part about ow it took me 30 years. If he asks I’ll tell him, but I don’t think he’ll be hurt by not knowing that.
Am I really old enough to have a kid in middle school, damn.
Tim Bonner August 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm
My son is 4 so he’s only just getting there when it comes to school and my daughter is 2, so nowhere near ready yet ;-). Jeez, I’m going to be the big 4-ohhhh next year. Where did the time go? I still think in my mind I’m 21!
I watch my son sometimes with other people and he’s so confident. He loves being around older kids but he’s definitely not a follower. He’ll be leading whatever is happening and be at the front controlling proceedings. He’s also great at making friends and isn’t afraid to strike up the conversation.
That fills me with confidence that he’ll do fine at school.
The JackB August 12, 2012 at 3:23 pm
I hear you. I turned 43 this year but I still think of myself as being somewhere between 19 and 25, provided I haven’t done any serious exercise. That sometimes has an impact upon things. 😉
Your son sounds like a great kid. It is a lot of fun to watch them grow.
Kristen Daukas August 10, 2012 at 5:11 am
#1 started middle school 2 years ago (#2 starts this year) and I remember walking into that school like a stranger in a strange land. Compared to elementary it was so HUGE and I worried that she would get lost in the shuffle. There was much less parental involvement and I found a bit of twisted humor in watching all the former volunteer crazies scramble for the very limited seats of “glory”. She struggled and I’m sure the other will, too but so far it’s going pretty well. Save for the normal girl drama but that’s to be expected. Heckle away, Jack… you have a reputation to keep up 😉
The JackB August 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm
@kristendaukas:disqus Huge is the perfect word, especially coming from our school. The new one is enormous and I have wondered about what sort of transition it will be moving from a school of 250 to 1,800.
Your description of the seat of glory is so very apt. I am kind of wondering what that might look like. I am not ready for the girl drama yet, but I have a few years.
As for heckling, well my reputation will stay intact, it is the smaller version of me I am concerned about. I want him to develop his own without my influence. Good times, good times. 😉
Ralph Dopping August 9, 2012 at 3:24 pm
Huh. I feel 19 at times then I sober up. Damn, booze will do that to you. At 40 god damn 7 I still wonder why by body aches after spending a rambunctious day with the boys golfing, drinking and rabble-rousing late into the night.
Maybe I need to have kids or something. That will likely smarten me up…;-)
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 8:47 pm
40 god damn 7 is a good age to have babies around. Let me tell you they will make sure you take it a bit easier or you’ll have all sorts of extra fun with that hangover. 😉
bridgetstraub.com August 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm
I just wrote this whole long comment and it didn’t work, so suffice to say, I feel your pain.
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm
My apologies for any commenting issues. I hate when that happens.
Bill Dorman August 9, 2012 at 7:19 am
You old fart; I’m quelve……
I was talking about this the other day, but for me, my kids don’t have a sense of urgency to get things done. They are great kids and have far exceeded anything I ever did at that age. However, they are content to just get along.
When I say ‘get along,’ my oldest is a State Attorney and just got assigned a high-profile case in Ft Myers and my youngest will be interviewing with us next week; but with a little more effort, they could both be ‘off the chart’ guys. I guess if they are happy then that’s all that matters, right?
Is it because they have it ‘easier’ than we did and we have enabled them to a certain degree?
I think it’s ok to let them grow and figure it out on their own, but sometimes you would just like to ‘coach’ them a little bit to possibly light a fire.
One thing for sure, life is going to keep going on whether we are ready for it or not; so let’s get on board.
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm
I remember my grandfathers and my dad making suggestions about things I could do to push my career along a little bit but I didn’t listen to much of it. I was young and dumb and full of..
Anyhoo, after a little while I started to figure out that what they were saying made sense and that I could make my life easier for myself. Can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.
Jens P. Berget August 9, 2012 at 6:11 am
I’m 19 as well 🙂
I’ve been to middle school with my kids too and I guess it’s more or less identical to when I attended it, but I’m just looking at it and the people in a different way.
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm
I would hope that you are looking at them differently. 😉 All these years later it is hard not to see things in a different light.
Cris Moxam August 9, 2012 at 5:19 am
Jack, did you wish, on career day, back when you were a little boy, to be inspiring when you grew up? Because you are
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm
I can’t say that I did, but I won’t complain about it. If it helps people than I am glad. Thank you.
arsabeatbarca August 9, 2012 at 12:18 am
Well Jack, You made me chuckle and had me going there. As for your son, do you think it just might be that he doesn’t want to appear as a know it all, or worse yet, the dreaded ‘Teacher’s Pet’? Perhaps that is why he doesn’t participate more. Peer pressure. Yikes, can be the stuff of much angst, but as long as he stays true to himself, he will do just fine. Now where is Jerry (giggles)?
The JackB August 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm
Nah, I don’t think he cares or thinks about being the teacher’s pet. He really doesn’t like being the center of attention. He also doesn’t like being wrong so he is very methodical in his approach to things.
Jerry is at the coffee shop now. 😉
arsabeatbarca August 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Hey Jack, ‘George’ was a piece of work wasn’t he. Do miss that show. But I can see why you used Jerry, both worriers! But from what you tell us of your lad, he has got his act together. Thanks for replying.