Monday, 16 September 2013

Near enough is good enough, right?

"Ahh, you must be Campbell's mum."

I'm not sure if that's a good thing to be instantly recognised as your child's mother when you've just entered a room to hear all about the expectations of Year 8 students. I have a simple expectation that my son does not have a criminal record by the end of Year 9. High school has an expectation that you are toilet trained and can sit still for 6 hours. Or at least close to.

But to be instantly recognised as your son's mother, well -  is it an insult to you that you have the face of a 13 year old boy, or an insult to your son that he looks like his overweight 42 year old mother. Either way, that's messed up. The closest Campbell has looked like me was when he was in kindergarten and had a massive mop of hair on top of his already massive head. I had the standard 1970's big doll-like hair on the top of my massive head. Our eyes, our smiles and our massive boofy heads identify us as mother and son. Back then. Certainly not now. 

"You must be Campbell's mum."
Like mother like son? Appearance is where it stops.

What had my cackleberry done this time? Do I look like the parent of a slack smart arse? Did I smell like the parent of a slack smart arse? How did this teacher know that I was the parent of a slack smart arse? 

Genetically, Campbell should have been an overachieving nerd. Both Tim & I were teacher pleasers, suck holes, perfectionists. Sometimes, it hard to understand how Cam is the way he is - lazy, unmotivated, near-enough-is-good-enough schlemiel. I did not take drugs or drink when he was wombing it, so the chemical excuse can't apply here. 

But I don't think Campbell is alone. I think our generation has spawned a generation of I-really-don't-give-a-shitters. I agree there are still many kids out there who try hard, do well and are ambitious, but so many of our youngsters are...well...dickheads. And it's not entirely their fault. To a degree, our generation has fucked them up and have let them down. Some of our little cotton wool kiddies are finding out that near enough is just not cutting it as good enough. 

As some kids thrive on enquiry learning and exploring their own learning needs independently, others - and by others, I mean Campbell - see independent learning as a time for a nanna nap or an opportunity to destroy his school shoes with some liquid paper and some tacks. While others are keen to complete their assignments to the best of their ability, my lad is thinking of ways he could do the least possible work in the shortest amount of time and still hand it in two months late. His Couldn't Give A Rat's Fat Arse chromosome kicks into underdrive. Zzzzzzz.

Before you ask, yes he has seen an educational psychologist, an auditory processing specialist, a visual processing specialist, a speech pathologist, school guidance officers and a kinesiologist. He is a smart kid. He's just a fucking lazy one. And he's not just smart in brains smart. He's smart enough to recognise the lack of consequences for being lazy. He knows that if you don't hand in work on time, you are told to bring it in the next day. And then the next day. And the next day. Detentions are not like they were in my day. Teachers dished them out daily. No parent permission required. You stayed in. And nothing scared you more than knowing your mum was outside waiting in the car while you were in detention. But these days, notes need to be sent home asking for permission to keep your child in for half an hour after school. Lunch time detention is for ten minutes only, and only after they have eaten and had some fresh air. 

And it's not like all his marks at school are bad. He received a brilliant mark on an assignment that was handed in almost two weeks late. Coz he knew he could. He knows he will succeed whether he performs now or when he feels like it. A control game? Possibly. Fucking lazy? That's a given.

In primary school it was much the same. Towards the end of Grade 5, the kids were able to apply for a school leadership position. Sounds like work, doesn't it? Needless to say, he didn't apply. He didn't want a position. But he was given one anyway. School Leadership hierarchy is this: Boy and girl School Captains, a boy and girl Captain for each of the four Houses, then Peer Support, Community, Media and ICT roles are shared across the students. No one is left out. This way everyone feels needed and loved and self esteem is elevated. Ahhhhh. Ok for primary school maybe, but in secondary school I'd like my son to be shaped into a driven man. Someone who knows that with effort comes reward, and consequences - good or bad - follow actions. The 'near enough is good enough' attitude will not float in adulthood and the workplace. 
"Dr Campbell, did you remove all of the tumour?""Sure. Maybe. Near enough. Now where'd I leave that scalpel? I'll look for it later."

This isn't every child. This isn't even every child of mine. But we need to start grow strong, resilient, and responsible kids or the real world is gonna give them one hell of a kick in the nuts. Mind you, there might be a job for them at Microsoft...

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jesus Christ... I wonder if this is what my Ozzy will become.
    Already his teachers are calling him lazy & he's 7!

    Permission for detention... WTF!!!?????

    Campbell will be brilliant darling, just you wait! x
    Sarah @