Nothing More

Re-entry after winter break has not been easy for him. The rules and restrictions of school — Sit Still. Be Quiet. Do What You Are Told, Nothing More, Nothing Less. — have been grating on him, and it shows.
It's the "nothing more" that's the problem. Almost every accomplishment of my life has come from finding ways to stretch what was authorized into what really needed to be done.


Cass said...

You'll pardon me if I express grave doubts as to the judgment of eight year old children as to when and how far "what is authorized" should be stretched to accommodate their innate and of course infallible sense of "what really needs to be done".

On a related note, I'm pretty sure the average and even the exceptional 8 year old could not run a classroom to save his/her life. Nor teach the material. Amazing that we expect a single teacher to do all of this, whilst never infringing upon the natural right of every student to do whatever it is that student secretly thinks really needs to be done.

Perhaps teachers are there to teach the material, and parents are there to teach the rest?

Cass said...

One more thought.

When I was just a lass of 5 or so, I was so active that my mother took me to the doctor because I was wearing her out. I found it quite difficult to sit still or concentrate, hated much of what I was asked to read/learn, and generally hated school. He told her to put me in gymnastics after school, which she did, and that helped somewhat.

I will count it a blessing for the rest of my life that I was required to learn to fit into a world that didn't revolve around me and my needs or ideas, rather than the other way around, because that's really pretty much how the world works.

As an adult, the discipline I learned to exercise over my natural tendencies has served me well. Though it never became easy for me, I can still focus better than most of the people I work with, and that focus is needed to do the work I do. And oddly enough, it didn't stifle the ability to innovate or take initiative or act when needed.

All it did was teach me to choose the time and place more wisely. Most people in life end up selling their labor or ability to think to others. Most of our are not entrepreneurs, so we figure out how to provide value (not what WE value, but what whoever is doing the planning or leading the enterprise values).

My biggest single disappointment in management has been the utter inability of so many people to buckle down and do a job well whether or not it's personally fascinating and whether or not it's what that person thinks is important.

Everyone fancies themselves the chief. But most organizations are like pyramids - lots of Indians at the bottom and only a few chiefs at the top. To get there, you'd better master being an Indian, first.

Sorry for the asperity, but this victim stuff just makes my head explode.

"When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper, it will be time to go."

"Wax on, wax off".

The first lesson of any student is that they're not the teacher and probably don't have a terribly informed view of what needs to happen.

We're failing our sons when we fail to teach them that the world doesn't revolve around them.

Grim said...

Yeah, there's a lot of 'fitting in.'

On the other hand, once upon a time a twelve year old boy sprinted out of a long talk on Plato without authority -- I thought he needed to go to the bathroom -- only to return with a cup of water for his father's ailing throat. So when you do get to that magical moment of recognition of a problem, combined with taking action independently to fix it: well, it's wonderful.

Gringo said...

He hasn’t been allowed outside at school all week; it’s too cold. Yet this son has spent happy hours outside at home this week, all bundled up, moving snow with the toy snowplow, creating “snowmobile trails” in our yard with his sled and shoveling both our walk and our neighbors. Because he wants to.
He’s not allowed to go outside at school when it’s too cold or wet; he’s expected to sit quietly in the library or auditorium during recess time.

This rang a bell with me. I was a good student in elementary school- the best in my class.. I have a distinct memory of being miserable on days when it was too wet for us to go outside. [The gym/auditorium] was too small]

Much more than girls, boys need to run around to release all that energy. Absent that chance to release that energy, and school becomes miserable.Even for good students.

Fortunately, we went outside for recess in winter, regardless of the temperature.

Cass said...

When you look at common factors in boys who don't do well in school, a disproportionate number of them - after sitting still all day in school - come home and sit in one place playing video games or watching TV. For hours on end.

So clearly, boys are able to sit still when they feel like it, even after a long day of sitting still in school.

Even in the 90s when my boys were small, many of their friends would sit for hours playing with their GameBoys or watching TV if allowed to. I used to make them go outside and throw a ball around or ride their bikes. We didn't even own any video games until they were in high school, and they only played after sports and homework were done.

I agree with Gringo that kids need to move, and I think recess is very important. So are simple things like walking to school (not possible for everyone, but surely possible for many - I walked about a mile to/from school for most of grade school).

It's just jarring (and rather bizarre) to see parents uttering phrases like, "school is killing my son's soul". Drama, much? If that's all it takes to kill a person's soul, then we're raising a generation of hothouse flowers.

This stuff seems as dumb to me as the folks who were hyperventilating about how girls needed classes about successful women in history or our small souls would die a pitiful death :p

raven said...

On rainy days when school seemed boring there was a really nice cave we favored- sort of a nice deep recess with a large granite shelf above, with a clear view out over the woodland....great place for a few boys to hang out.
No doubt today we would be arrested for missing school. Of course the romance of the land is gone too, the rolling fields and woodlots are smeared thick with suburban houses.

douglas said...

"On the other hand, once upon a time a twelve year old boy sprinted out of a long talk on Plato without authority -..."

I should like to hear sometime how to get a 12 year old boy to sit and hear about Plato... I could use the help.

Cass said...

I have a feeling Grim knows :p

Some things we're not ready to listen to until we have some use for them. Some of my favorite books - the ones I re-read every few years and always take something new away from - are ones I tried to read several times, but abandoned because they just didn't interest me the first few times.

Once I had something to attach it all to (knowledge, experience, etc.) the formerly "boring" book was suddenly riveting.