I’ve just read and watched a post and video of a young girl named Kim Wilborn who comes from the south side of Chicago in a low income area and her struggle with excelling in school because the school she was attending the teachers themselves had low expectations of their students. She is now thriving in a positive school atmosphere and is holding A’s in her courses.
It got me to thinking of the struggles had with Ryley my eldest this last year in school. He has had a less than stellar year in school. He’s struggled with every aspect of school and his life this year and a lot of the struggle was self brought as he comes of age.
I believe at 17 he’s a late bloomer, This last year he has been struggling with his own demons inside as well as trying to fight for his independence and find his spot where he is comfortable in this world. For a long time thought I was fortunate that I wasn’t having to deal with let’s call it “teenage angst”, no girlfriends, no drama, no headaches. no worries from him.
Then sometime around the end of summer last year things started to change in him and I could see that he was starting to try and find himself now that I look back. The school year started on a rather “blah” note for him. He was not motivated when he came home from school to do any homework, review or studying. He would spend hours a day watching YouTube and in chats for street wear groups on Reddit and FaceBook.
I wasn’t worried to much at the start and would send gentle reminders in the first few weeks of school asking him if he had homework and what he had learned in school today and he would blank me! I let it go saying to myself it’s the start of the school year maybe he just needs some time to get back in to the groove of school?
As time went on I noticed a pattern and he seemed to be caring less and less, as I started to ask more questions and try to talk with him more about school and how things were going he would get so upset right away and would wind himself up in a few seconds, so conversations would soon turn in to arguments even though that was not my original intention when I would try and find out how school was going.
When the first report came out he panicked and the “poor me” drama unfolded and he said he would buckle down and do better. After talking to him and letting him try and gain his footing it had looked like he had kept his promise as he would come home have a snack and take half an hour to decompress and would study, do homework or review his work from that day.
It did not take long for his old habits though to rear their ugly head again and we were back to where we were before the first report came out. I tried every approach I could think of letting him know along the way that he is a smart young man and he can do whatever he sets his mind too. I know this because I have seen him and he can retain anything that holds his interest and have an intelligent conversation about anything he wants too.
His what I secretly call his “cop out” is that he can understand what he’s taught in class and can do the work in that class, but as soon as he walks home he cannot remember what he learned that day. He is his own worst enemy when it comes to adversity because he talks himself out of learning when I know very well if he wants something he is the type that won’t stop till he gets it.
Recently he had the opportunity to spend a week at the University of British Columbia (UBC) where he had a private mentor in Architecture John Bass all to himself for those 5 days and he came back from his experience refreshed and renewed to improve his grades and his school habits.
Upon his return home we did have a conversation about school and when I put things in to perspective for him about how much time he has left in school before he wants to attend university (10 months more) he looked at me in a bit of shock and horror like he just woke up. Since that day of his return his study habits and work habits have improved dramatically and I know that he can do this and I tell him often I am proud of him.
What I have learned from this as a parent is no matter how bad things get, how much they fight you, how much they discuss with you, even if they can’t stand the sight of you, one day they will come out of their fog and see what you were saying all along and they will see you stood with them and you were encouraging them the whole time to be the very best they could. #becausetheycan