Teenagers, school, and grey hair.

How do we get to Friday so quickly now when it used to seem as if it was forever hovering in the distance of my pseudo nine-to-five work week? It’s amazing, and I’m left feeling yet again that I need some kind of a drive through where I can order a few more hours each day with a super-sized box of salty hot fries.

And I’m pensive. But that shouldn’t stop my Friday Follies, because I’ll indulge in a bit of Peaflock egocentrism instead of worrying about the economy, or whether I’m being green enough. About whether the RTR will persist in his subtle efforts to resist all half-assed attempts at parental pressure to become a neurotic type-A studentisto at some point in the future. Smart young man.

So how is my almost 16-year-old last birdie in my nest doing these days? I thought you’d never ask. Outside of continuing to be the gentle and respectful, scruffy around the edges, but hugging type person that he’s always been, I’d like to say he’s seen the light and has become an organizational sensation with a sparkling bedroom. A notebook that one might be able to detect some semblance of order. A backpack whose lumpy contents I don’t have to wonder about.

He hasn’t.

But his bathroom is cleaner than ours now, because The Gramster is sharing it with him. It looks like a real bathroom now with a mirror you can actually see your reflection in.  And he’s loving the guitar, the lessons, and even his cool guitar teacher. I keep asking him when he’s going to get House of the Rising Sun down so I can sing, and you know, I think he’s working on it. I’ll let you know if I actually get a gig on YouTube so you can spit your cereal milk or coffee all over your keyboard.

But school? Well, let’s just say we’re gently reminding him that if there’s not a solid “C” in Spanish and Algebra II, then the MoH has decreed that when we get back from Italy this summer, he’s getting a J.O.B.

So I’m still trying to figure out exactly whose consequence that is since the RTR doesn’t have a driver’s license, and since I remain challenged to completely understand which higher plane of existence he spends most of waking moments on, I’m not comfortable with the idea of him being behind the wheel of any vehicle. Too. Scary. That means that I would become the J.O.B. taxi.

I hate driving. Thoroughly.

Besides, I think our philosophy is losing credibility faster than you can yell, “Phony!” at me. If I haven’t raged enough about it before, or, if you were smart and skipped through the pretty pictures of those twenty or so posts, you know that I do have rather strong opinions about the general quality of public education. In spite of the two decades I spent working as an educator — a damn good one, thank you very much — I’ve always believed that what we do best is try to fit all children into the same sized hole. And because my pensiveness is about my son today, and not public education, I’ll leave it at this: If I truly believe that, then how, how, how do I continue to find myself veering toward that norm? It’s amazingly difficult to pull away from that force.

So how is the RTR winning this? About two months or so ago, his art teacher invited a spokesperson down from a school in San Francisco to speak. The funny thing about it is that each day when I pick him up at school, we have the same exchange:

Me: How was your day?

Him: Pretty good (although this fluctuates between other responses such as, fine, average, normal, okay…)

Me: Did anything new and exciting happen?

Him: No.

It’s one of those warm, fuzzy mother and son moments that we smile about. So it figures that the one day I forget to play the tape, he actually has something to say:

Him: Mom. You know how you always ask me about whether something new and exciting happens at school?

Me: Yah?

Him: Well today, a person came to our art class.

Me: What did he talk about?

Him: Well she was from this art school in San Francisco and it sounds really cool. You don’t have to have SAT scores.

Me: Really? *Oh. Swell.*

Him: Yep. And when she asked if anyone wanted information, I raised my hand.

Whoa. This is the part where I have to control myself and not act like I’m giddy that he is showing an interest in something that doesn’t resemble tiny military figurines or tanks, World War II and YouTube comedy segments. He’s spoken to someone from admissions on the phone twice.

Do you know how difficult it is to keep up with the whole, “It matters that you WORK hard in school, because in life you have to WORK hard if you want to find the right kind of WORK for yourself instead of just finding a job that pays well- blah-blah-blah-dee-dah-work-work-work…” diatribe when the school your son has decided he’s attending has this philosophy:

The Academy of Art University maintains a no-barrier admissions policy for all undergraduate programs. The Academy was built on the educational philosophy that all students interested in studying art and design deserve the opportunity to do so.

All he needs is a high school diploma. Period.

Okay, so… and parents who are willing to pay the tuition.

But it’s right up his alley of interests. So go figure.

Guess the MoH is going to have to whip out his checkbook. But the RTR is still taking the SAT next Saturday.

Just. Because.

And the next two years will fly by as we continue to pander to the great education god in the sky and resist temptations to walk the streets with signs that plead, “Will clean your bathroom for son’s GPA.” Okay, so maybe not.

He told me the school doesn’t recognize GPA, either.

Go figure that his non-plan looks like it’s going to work. Just think about all the grey hairs and wrinkles I could have saved worrying about that sweet kid.

Where does the time go?


13 responses to “Teenagers, school, and grey hair.”

  1. you probably don’t want to know that i think ,,,,that school sounds awesome… now if it was an engineering school,, i would have serious questions,, but art is something so not associated with your ability to take tests well.. art is something else all together,, and i am glad to see that there is a school a real live education facility that noticed that… i think he will get the finest in art education in a school that isn’t pumping test memorization into their heads where the creativity should be…

  2. See? I tld you all along he was a good kid, who knew what he was doing. 🙂 Nevermind that part about me never actually meeting him ever.
    My husband had horrible SAT scores because he is a horrible test taker. He is a robotics engineer. I had rather high SAT scores and I never finished college. I love learning, and will do it willingly, but I hate school.
    Outside of college applications, SAT score mean nothing. GPA means nothing. There is no shame in doing community college first…and it is much easier on the bank account.
    This art school sounds awesome. Sign me up to buy his first piece. No joke.

  3. Wow. I had so many typos in that…makes it hard to believe I had high SAT scores, doesn’t it? I really just can’t type.

  4. Actually, paisley, I do want to know what you think. And I agree that the school sounds great, because not enough time and energy is spent on the arts in our schools and if that’s what someone is wired to do, they’re screwed. Even if they have talent, they have to have the grades in the core subjects to get in. It’s annoying. I think people wired for mathematics and science should be forced to take as much art and music. Required.

    Hey mel. It makes my heart skip when you’re here. I miss you! Yep. You know he’s a good kid. You called it. And yep. I get the testing thing more than you know. I was a schoolie, but my test scores always sucked. And your typos lend character to your words. 🙂

  5. He is incredibly talented!!! I hated the SAT’s. Good luck RTR!!!

  6. loripea

    Nice post. I can just hear him in the car bringing up the conversation. What a NICE boy. My oldest RT is going to work at BBG this summer doing what I used to do. She’s pretty excited about it and making $10 an hour too. We went freeway driving today…..

    Public education. Just recently the same RT was complaing about her history class that the first teacher went on maturnity leave, the replacement teacher was “let go for reason’s we are not able to discuss” and the recent substitute can’t make it to 50% of the remaining classes. So there will be a substitute for the substitute. We wrote to the school and this was the VPs response…..

    ” I will admit that I made a mistake by not notifying the parents of the change but with only three weeks left in the school year and SOL’s already completed, I felt it was not necessary. I will notify parents next time if I am in this situation again.”

    Because it’s all about standarized tests right? SOL’s stands for Standard of Learning…….. more like Sh** Out of Luck in this case.

  7. Okay.Wait. Is that ORANGE I see on your glasses now too?

    I have to go read this whole post…but I think someone may like the color orange?

  8. Okay….read the post.

    #1) I hate driving. Thoroughly. ME TOO

    #2) I am so excited for your boy! Now that sounds like some seriously promising news.

    Good luck with the SATS just because, but for real? he needs to go to THAT school!!!


  9. Wow, I popped over from BlogHer and I am very glad that I did, what a beautiful tribute to recognizing the talent in your children. Mine are 26, 19, 13, 11, 7, 5 and it is so hard to teach them to follow the rules AND think outside of the box. It is a recipe that needs to be tweaked constantly and I appreciate the opportunity to take a glimpse into your family.

  10. Hi chefmom! Long time no see — SATs weren’t up my alley, either, but give me a pencil and paper and I’m fine. Speaking of…are you headed to your doctoral program yet?

    Lormo — I just LERVE the VP’s comment. What a mah-roon. And you hit the nail on the head about being S-O-L because yanno, it’s all about those phoney baloney numbers that make no difference to anyone but politicians. Congrats on your RT’s JOB. w00t!

  11. meleah — you’re hilarious. I’ve had these glasses for a while now and yes, they are definitely orange. AND I’ve purchased TWO orange tee shirts recently. Hmmm…I wonder what this all means?

    Hi Carrie — Thanks very much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! Always appreciated. And you have QUITE the family! You are SO right about teaching how to think independently and creatively, and adhering to all that responsibility requires. Tweaking would be a perfect word to describe the day-to-day job of it all, and some instinct, too, that they’re on the right track.

  12. yeah….and the ORANGE food post too….

    hmm…..what is UP with all THAT!

    you are becoming ONE with your blog again.

    and I love it

  13. Oh, yes, I forgot about the orange food. You are quite astute! I’ll have to look into the orange thing.

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