Monday, June 19, 2006

In Response to Ann's Post on "Value"

This is in response to Ann's blog posting on "value". Click here to read Ann's original post.

I, too, have been guilty of bragging that Jamie is "so smart." I also usually like to do it in his hearing. Unfortunately, he doesn't believe me. His school bases who is intelligent on what kind of grades a student gets. Well, he has ADHD, so his grades have pretty much been crap (and I really mean that other four-letter word that means the same thing, but is not mentioned in polite company). But he is one of the most inquisitive kids I know, and thinks so far "outside the box" that he's thinking in a rhombus or whatever.

He is also one of the kindest, most sensitive people I know. If you hurt, he hurts, and won't stop hurting until he can "make it all better" for you. I have never heard him say or been told he had said anything negative about people who look, act or are physically different from him. But he is the first one to get his feelings hurt when someone else points out something about him that is different. If he notices someone on the playground who has no one to play with, he'll go ask if they want to play with him (his teacher told me this). Unfortunately, often he is the only one left playing alone. It seems the other kids don't like him because he talks "too grown up."

Yet despite the fact that he has a vocabulary to rival that of most fifth-graders, has repeatedly demonstrated his awareness of others' feelings, constantly volunteers to help with clean-up duties and other chores at school and daycare, he is not considered "intelligent" at school. The administration barely wants to consider him "perceptive."

I used to think like so many others. I was considered (and still proudly think of myself as) very intelligent in high school and even in college. Sure, I'm considered a bit of a freak, but I've learned to accept that. But, after watching Jamie struggle, I know that intelligence is more than the grades you get. It's the ability to perceive the world and people around you. It's the ability to empathize and sympathize with others. It's even common sense (of which I have very little).

I'm realizing the only reason why I got good grades was because I had an older sister and brother who read to me constantly and played school with me. I only got good grades because I've learned how to take tests well. Jamie doesn't. I can be very sympathetic to people, and other times I'm so self-absorbed and self-centered that I wish I could bop myself over the head with something when I realize it later.

Some very very very intelligent people fail every test they take. Some extremely intelligent people can't do normal, everyday things. Like my brother recently commented, "Albert Einstein could barely tie his shoes."

So, thank you, Ann, for reminding me of something I've slowly been coming to learn over this past year. I'll still tell Jamie at every opportunity I get that he's very smart. But I'll also remember to tell him how kind he is, how sweet, how loving and how thoughtful.


Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Oh, and one thing I forgot to mention - just getting good grades doesn't make you smart. The curriculum in the United States is far inferior to that of other nations. The grade scale has slipped lower and lower - what used to be a "B" is now an "A". What was considered an average "C" before is now a good "B".

Suze said...

my heart breaks to hear this, jenn. my brother had some similar issues in school as a kid, not nearly to the extent that you're talking about, but his grades didn't reflect his true intelligence or creativity and he was never a good test-taker. it drives me nuts that the suits who make education policy have spent little or no time in the classroom and bow to the all-holy test score in determining aptitude. well, my bro is now getting his PhD in electrical engineering and totally kicking a** down there at virginia tech. i also have a cousin who had serious ADD problems (without the H) as a kid and went through absolute hell. he's now making more money as a petroleum engineer than any of the rest of us put together (not that how much money you make is an indication of intelligence or goodness or anything, but you get my point: he's doing well in life). so take heart.

and by the way, freaks don't bother me. you're one of the good kind :)

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

That's wonderful to hear. But I'm trying to take a page out of Goldie Hawn's book when it comes to my aspirations for myself and my son when we both "grow up." What do I want us to be when we grow up? Happy.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Oh, and thanks, Suze. When I worked for the paper, some of my co-workers used to tell me that I was "A frek AND a geek"

But that's okay, because "God thinks I'm special" (this is Jamethan's standard response now when kids are making fun of him. How awesome is that!)

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Whoops! That's supposed to say "freak"

ann said...

how come nobody's nagging you to post? it's already noon!

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

There are many, many possibilities why no one is nagging me to blog:

1) I've annoyed them so much with my singing on other blogs that they are grateful for any sort of silence from me they can get;

2) Ditto #1, only with the corny knock, knock jokes;

3) Ditto #1 and #2, only with the paraphrasing of well-known quotes;

4) No one actually READS what I write, they just post silly comments to see what kinds of other silly comments they can engender;

5) Everyone knows my life is boring and hum-drum, so there is no point in my blogging about it (LOL); and/or

6) Despite the fact that my life is boring and hum-drum, I still post fairly regularly, so they know another post is coming.

Just kidding. I know you all are just FASCINATED with my life as a personally and professionally frustrated single mother, and can't wait for me to write yet another whiny post about my life in Texas. LOL

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

"We are the bloggers, who don't do anything
We just stay online, and post comments!

And if you ask us to to do something else
we'll just tell you -
this is our only thing!"

Had to paraphrase VeggieTales again. I sent a CD with that song and many others to Joel. He says the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything is his new theme song.

Becca said...

I'm just glad you haven't resorted to the song that doesn't end.

Anonymous said...

This is the song that does not end,
It goes on and on, my friend.
Someone started singing it...

Becca said...

...Not knowing what it was, and they'll continue singing it forever just because....

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I never knew that song before. Thanks for telling me the words so I can sing it to YOU next time!

Tooz said...

Knock, knock, Jennifer. Are you there?

ann said...

here, i'm nagging you, too, because i got my new post up 5 minutes before 12