My son is a unique child.
Everybody says that about their child, and it’s true. Every child is unique, and original, and has their own way to make in the world. I have 3 unique, different, special, one-of-a-kind children. Not one of them is like anyone else on the planet. They may have some similarities to other people, but they’re all slightly different, in some way.
OnlySon is no different in being different from everyone else.
His teachers cannot understand this.
We had OnlySon’s annual IEP meeting yesterday, to discuss his Individual Education Plan for the year. They had concerns about his lack of interest in school (?), his shyness, and his “quirky sense of humor and imagination” as they so colorfully put it.
We’ve had to run interference for OnlySon for his whole school career. Shielding him from teachers that had a problem with his “imaginary friend” Darren Dansen, teachers that had a problem with his sense of humor, or his shyness, or his unwillingness to join sports of any kind.
Einstein himself said this: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
I happen to agree.
And OnlySon has imagination in SPADES.
Imaginary friends are a temporary thing, they eventually fade off into the distance. Darren has, the only time we ever hear about him now is if I ask OnlySon about him, then my son gets a glint in his eye, and comes up with some cool story about his friend, off gallivanting around the globe. But he doesn’t come to stay anymore.
Shyness? What’s wrong with being shy?? I was shy almost all the way through school. I was quiet, kept to myself for the most part, and hung out with the horses we had on the farm, my goat, dogs, cats and my books. I only had one really close friend in high school, and I was fine with that. I’ve never really been that fond of crowds, nor did I like public speaking (still don’t), so being shy kept me out of any spotlights (except for the senior play).
And as far as sports are concerned? We’ve never really been a “sports family”. The girls each participated in something – basketball for Eldest in 6th grade, swimming for Eldest and Younger in middle school – but they were never really manic about it. Sports were supposed to be fun, and if it wasn’t fun anymore, I let them quit. The end. No forcing, no pushing. OnlySon is no different. If he ever wants to join a team sport, I’ll support him, and try to get to as many games/matches/meets as I can. I did that for the girls, I’d do no less for the boy.
So, as my OtherHalf sat at the table and stewed over their criticisms of OnlySon’s behavior (I’m frankly surprised he didn’t blow a gasket), I calmly listened to their assessments, turned to my son (who was also in on the meeting, it is about him, after all), and said “Do you want to join any clubs or teams right now?”
He said “No, Thank you.”
I said “Ok”.
I then turned to the teachers and told them in my “voice” that my son responds better to positive reinforcement than criticism. You want him to do something? Ask him politely, and treat him with the respect that every human being deserves. He knows his own mind, even if he doesn’t speak it out loud very often. And, if you push him, he’s going to push back twice as hard. If you continue to push instead of ask politely, he’s going to put up a wall between himself and the offensive party, and they won’t reach him again after that.
*OnlySon is not home right now, please leave a message after the beep, and he’ll delete you later*
I also told the teachers and counselors that he comes by this trait honestly and genetically, so we know what we’re talking about.
My I.E.P. plan for OnlySon involves more of this: Showing OnlySon that it’s ok to ask for help, by doing it myself. I have an issue with getting help from other people, even when I know that I can’t do something on my own.
OnlySon even told the teachers yesterday that he would “Swallow his Pride – – AGAIN” *with his eyes rolling* He is so my child.
It also involves more imagination – I want to start getting him into doing “safe” experiments, as he seems to like science a lot. I want to try to get him interested in more books, as he loves to read, but has a limited range of subjects – maybe I can get him interested in something other than sharks, wimpy kids, and dogs that run away from home.
Hey, he liked rockets when they went to the school’s field trips to the air force base… maybe if we blow a couple of things up… Does the air force frown on unauthorized rocket launches in the vicinity of their bases? Hmmm…