Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blog Confessional #206

Welcome to the confessional!

Here's how it works. Every week I post a confession and invite and encourage others to post a confession of their own.

Confessions can be deep, funny, emotional, hysterical, happy, sad, angry, ranting, thankful, wishful, wistful, regretful, joyful, simple or complex. They can be dreams, regrets, wishes, goals, disappointments or surprises. Confessions can be posted using your name, a clever profile name or anonymously.

For myself, the confession I post will be meant for public knowledge about me. That said, I intend to also anonymously post confessions intermingled among others that I don't necessarily want to be known by family and friends who read.

Today I confess...

to the sin of PRIDE.

My son is 17 and in 12th grade.  He's getting ready to go to university next year.

He's flying.  And I'm just so proud!

Up until the end of last year's school year he's had such a difficult time.

You see, he's a gifted guy.  Not a genius but he's gifted.  Gifted kids are "different" kids.  In most ways they're a lot more mature than their peers but in other ways they are immature.  They live in their heads a lot more and are quite idealistic.  They are very sensitive emotionally.  This means they often don't connect easily in social environments with their age group.  They live in a world of idealistic perfection and don't understand their silly and inconsistent peers.  For this reason, he's felt that he has been an outsider for the past seven years.

Near the end of 10th grade he had a short crisis where he was at such a loss that he was looking at things like depression and anxiety.  I think he was hoping for an easy cure.  I think he wanted to stop feeling the way he felt and taking a pill a day would be an easy fix.

We went to some counseling even though I knew his problem was loneliness.  He didn't feel he fit in anywhere except at home.  At home he laughed and joked and smiled and enjoyed life.  At school he was in that limbo of being socially mature/immature and, being that school is the biggest part of a 10th grader's life, it was on his mind a lot.

I told him that while many people say that the high school years are the best years, they lie.  I told him those are the most difficult years anyone goes through.  Those are the most difficult years for almost everyone.  I told him that it wouldn't be long until he's in university where he will find himself smack in the middle of thousands of people who are thinking and doing in a very similar way to him.  I told him that in university people will have caught up to where he is.  I told him that his job was to prepare as best he could for university; he has to prepare for the best part of his life.

I encouraged him to join clubs where he would find "people like him".  He joined the yearbook club.  He found it helped a little.

In 11th grade I convinced him to run with this strategy so he joined the robotics club as well.  They participated in Skills Alberta and came in second for the province, barely missing competing in Skills Canada.

He also gave in to me when I suggested that he take advanced placement academic courses rather than optional courses like shop to enable him to spend the majority of his time with other students more in line with his intellect and social interaction geekiness.

We started celebrating his geekiness and talking about how his intellect is going to make him rich and I pointed to geeks like Bill Gates.  I told him that it's the geeks that have the power to influence the world.  He has the potential to exercise that kind of power too.

It helps that there are shows on television now like Big Bang Theory.  He watches that and laughs his guts out while the "jokes" fly right over my head.

He has been involved in Scouts since he was 5 years old.  He's still involved.  He's an outdoorsy kind of guy.  He likes the geeky survival skills like starting a fire using a battery and steel wool.

This fall, the Scouts Area Commissioner met him and was so impressed by his maturity that she put him forward as Youth Area Commissioner.  He was interviewed by a panel and they agreed he is an exceptional kid.  Now, he's helping to influence the programs in our area to give youth the best experience possible.

This coming summer he will be traveling with his Scouts Venturers group to Sweden for the World Jamboree.

This year he added the Honours Society to his list of clubs at school.

As I type, he is volunteering as camp counselor for a Calgary Board of Education program called outdoor school where every 5th grader gets to go to camp.  He left Tuesday afternoon and will be gone until Friday afternoon.  I love that he is giving of himself.  For that, he'll get extra school credits even though he'd have been just as gung-ho to do it even without reward.

He is busy researching all the possible scholarships for which he can apply.

Last week a letter came from school.  He earned honours for grade 11.  It also said he earned an "other" award.  The honours certificates will be handed out in the library.  We then have to go to a presentation ceremony to collect his "other" award.  I can't wait to see what it is!  I think he'd be chuffed if it were a scholarship.

I am so proud of all that he is accomplishing and all that he is becoming.  Mostly, I'm so proud that he is finding his own stride.  Even if it's a geeky one.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ E.E. Cummings

As always, I welcome comments on my confession.

What about you? 
Do you have a confession you'd like to share?  Remember, you can do it using your name, a profile name or anonymously.  Just click "...added their 2 cents" below to open the comment box.  I'd love to hear your confession!


  1. I used to say all the same things about my girl. I used to say all the same things to my girl. We are a wee bit ahead of your situation. The moment is here. A month and a half into the university year I find out she's missed a couple weeks of school. She says she needs to talk to me. Too much stress. She doesn't "fit in" there. She wants out. She has Two scholarships covering full tuition with any leftover money handed to her in the form of a cheque. She says she doesn't care about the money. Worse yet, she wants to quit now, midway through the year. University does not offer a money back guarantee if not completely satisfied. Scholarships don't say "Oh well... that's okay.". They want their money back. In other words she wanted to start life out with about a $3000 debt (money paid on her behalf thus far). I told her that would be a total F'ing disaster. She said she would get a job and have the money paid off in about four months. I asked her how she would manage that when she spends about $700 a month, and that WITHOUT any bills of any sort. After much explaining I managed to talk her into sticking it out for the rest of the year so that she could avoid starting at a deficit. Completing the year fulfills her part of the scholarship thing so that she won't owe them money. She will still be dropping university, just at a later more appropriate time. I talked her into seeing a counselor at the university to discuss her options. I told her I wanted to come along to see what they had to say myself. At first she didn't want me going with her but she changed her mind and said it was okay if I came along.

  2. Sorry I have to post in a two part fashion but apparently I'm only allowed 4,096 characters per comment.

    University has changed since I was given "the tour" that all high school kids get sent on. My daughter was 100% right. She does not fit in. Much like the people lieing about high school being the best years, the people who say that university is a place for unique intellectual people are misleading the youth of today. In our university at least. I hope for the sake of your boy that whichever university he chooses the situation is different. Walking down the hallway I told my daughter "I see what you mean. You DON'T fit in.". From what I could see it was about 80% girls. They all dressed the same. They all talked the same. They all walked the same, all texting on their cell phones in a bizarre synchronized pattern. The few boys that were there all looked the same. Hundreds upon hundreds of clones lining the hallways. They honestly looked younger than the kids in high school. They all look 13 or 14 years old. I recall from my tour a wide variety of ages and types of students there. There were young people, middle aged people, and older grey haired students even. Not so anymore. Not here. I can understand her frustration. It's like a horror movie. Grade 13, grade 14, grade 15, grade 16......and so on. When the fuck do I move on from school to an adult life? That's sort of my translation of how and what my daughter is feeling. Of course it's sad to see two huge scholarships flushed down the toilet. I'm sure a lot of people would be thrilled to be paid to go to university, it's just that from what I saw, university is nothing but a fashion show these days. Case in point for her not fitting in: the counselor we saw talked to her in a very "That's great that you're thinking of applying to enter university" way. Much later in the conversation my daughter clued her in that she wasn't thinking of applying but that she was already enrolled. "In arts?" says the counselor in an awkward fashion. "No, in commerce." my daughter replied. Neither of us mentioned that she was the one that received the top scholarship from the university itself as she was probably in the top ten academically out of the thousands of students that applied there. So what does one of the top students from university look like? Clearly not my kid. I guess my kid just looks like someone that wishes they could get into university.

    As we wove our way through the clones walking back down the hallways to leave, I said to my daughter "Just pretend all these people are sims that you created for while you're going to school here because an empty building with just you in it would be boring." She laughed and agreed.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter is having such a tough time, Paul.

    Just an opinion...maybe it would be best to not approach it as a fait accompli. Maybe she'll find her niche within this time frame.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you both.

  4. Well she had a tough start to primary school and high school but eventually felt comfortable to the point that she was one of the kids that everyone knew and liked so I'm hoping it'll be the same again. I made a point of reminding her of that a couple times. The problem here is that she's dropped the classes necessary to keep the scholarship renewal for following years. Whatever happens it'll all be valuable learning experience for her. Thanks for the support.

  5. There are more scholarships available should she decide to continue on. That part's not the end of the world. She's proven she can earn them if she wants them.

    Life experience is also an important lesson. It might even be the most important learning tool.

    And you're welcome. We parents are all in the same boat. I haven't found a parent yet who got an instruction manual with any of their kids.

  6. I think that my 11 yr old son is somewhat going through the same thing. He has ADD/AHDH and ODD thrown into the mix. He's gifted in some areas and struggles in others. This makes for really bad days somedays, but on all the good days he is such a treat, so kind, caring, loving and so helpful. The sweetest kid. Reading this confessional had helped me and gave me hope that one day it might not be as much of a struggle.

    My confession is really stupid, but I indulged in way too much Halloween candy today and I'm feeling guilty of gluttony.

  7. Ack! My son it 9 turning 10. Oops.

  8. Di, my personal theory is that so long as we encourage them to be themselves, enjoy who they are and not feel pressure to be like everyone else, they will be okay.

    I haven't bought any candy yet because even if I don't get into it, the kids will. They'll have enough as it is without getting a head start.

    Last year I had to ask my son what grade he was in because for the life of me I couldn't remember nor could I figure it out. lol


I'd love to hear your two cents!