With a new school year and a new teacher comes the ever popular "back to school" essay. My youngest son never ceases to frustrate me when it comes to such things. Two classes and four days later, his essay on introducing himself consisted of four sentences--his name, his age and where he had lived in his life. Getting more out of him was going to be torture...and it was! Thankfully, after hearing that he could write pages on the importance of the advent of a toaster to heat his Eggo's each day, it appears that the frustration was saved for essays done at home where Mom could see them and go insane.
His essay was due today, so at 9:30pm last night he came down to my office. I was working on my own "homework" (an online course that I will be telling you about in greater detail in the coming months) but he was stuck. He had to introduce himself to his English teacher.
"Mom, pretend that you don't know me and tell me all about me."
"How can I tell you about you when I don't know you?"
I began with his love of animals, the fact that he enjoys being outdoors and on quad, his gaming addiction and ended with the fact that he cheated death at age 2 and now lives with Type 1 diabetes.
He proceeded to write about his pets in detail. The two dogs, the cat and the fish that respond to any name as long as there is food involved. He went on to describe the quads that he has at his father's house as well as the one he owns here. He wrote about his trip in the woods that very day and what he enjoyed about it. He told her about his favorite Xbox game and the origin of his gamertag.
I asked him about writing about diabetes. He told me that he had too much space to fill up and diabetes would only take up a few lines. He wanted to fill out the other paragraphs first. He expanded on his life. He was not just 15 but he was the youngest of two boys. His older brother was now living with him while going to school. He had family living around the globe.
Again, I suggested the diabetes part. He added more to his Xbox addiction sighting exactly what he liked about his favorite game. He mentioned that he has traveled a lot over years.
After a torturous hour, he was done. He had one page about himself! He had paragraphs. He had information and he was able to press save. As I watched him leave, I noted that nowhere in his essay was diabetes mentioned. In his world, it was not important. It did not warrant discussion in his essay. It was a non-issue for him. If only it was really that simple.