letter from a friend

2005-05-19 - 1:19 p.m.

Advice from a friend with a slightly older boy, X.

Oh dear, I do feel for you. I really don't know what it's all
about--and it's probably different for every kid--but I'm finally
convinced that X's bouts of this kind of behavior have to do with a
disjunction between what he expects of himself (and what he feels we
expect from him) and what he can pull off in the short amount of time he
THINKS homework/studying ought to take.

I completely sympathize with not wanting it to turn into a bigger
problem. And you ARE paying attention and that matters a lot. She
knows you care, and she doesn't want to worry you or hurt your feelings
or disappoint you. The challenge seems to be to figure out how to pay
attention the right amount so they feel taken care of but not interfered

I think for X Latin was particularly fraught because he knew how very
pleased I was when he signed up for it, and so for it to turn out to be
so hard to do the "one thing" that made me happy... yuck. FYI, I think
Latin IS really hard, and that Ms Y tends to play up how hard it
is in order to make it a kind of badge of honor for her kids - some of whom really get into that kind of thing.

Then for this year's Chemistry bout was a slightly more mature version:
he was doing it because HE was really interested, and to find it really
hard when he thought of himself as a science guy was a shock. Of
course, like most LUPS kids in his year he didn't take science as a
freshman and to catapult into an AP class was a big leap that none of us
really took into consideration.

So I think your insights about things that are hard when everything else
is easy [I'd contrasted Latin, which is pretty hard) with Spanish, where nothing is expected at all]--RG, and other people not working hard, and being able (for the
first time?) to get away with people not noticing when you're not toeing
the line - all those things come into play. I theorize too that at LUPS
while it's not un-cool to be smart, it is un-cool to (appear to) work
hard at it. And heaven knows it would be easy to be distracted - but
that's kinda what happens in high school for everyone so I don't think
that's anything to worry about.

[Then she suggested someone that X talked to. I think I will call him.]--RG

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