Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dancing Through Life....

What is written below was originally included in the previous post concerning Emma's educational decision. I took it out for all of those out there who wanted to know what Emma was doing and not be fully vested in my little biographical history.

The trouble with Schools is,
They always try to teach the wrong lesson.
Believe, me, I've been kicked out of enough of them to learn.
They want you to be less callow, less shallow.
So I say why invite strife in.
And learn to live,
the unexamined life...
~Stephen Schwartz

That was from the Broadway Musical 'Wicked'. Here is my life to be examined, with hope that I can still dance through life, swaying and sweeping, and always keeping cool.

When you talk about school and friends, it takes me back a bit. I recall my elementary and high school years. I was a slacker - for some reason it didn't dawn on me until college that a little studying went a long way. I would rather be shooting some hoops, passing the football, watching TV, playing computer games, or hanging with friends. The result were B's and C's in high school. But most of my friends, for some strange reason, weren't like me. Most of them were the straight A student kind. You know, the kind that got upset when they got an A-. Me, I was excited if I got a B- let alone an A at all. My mom mused at one point, or perhaps it was a pointed attack, why my friends didn't rub off on me more than they did.

They did, though it took some time. I finally caught the vision in college while taking an English class. You see, I almost didn't graduate high school because of English (nor did I really desire to go to college). I was taking a college level English class, because I wanted to look like I belong, and barely passed the first semester. The school counselor brought me in and told me that the teacher was concerned that I would not pass the second semester, at which point I would have to take summer school. That scared me into changing courses. I ended up taking 'Film Studies' for my final English credit. We watched movies the whole semester and gave our critiques. Not sure I learned any English, but it was one of the most memorable of classes of the High School years.

Any ways, I ended up deciding to go to college (in part, because all my friends did) and somehow was accepted. I tried to hold off taking the required English credits as long as I could, however. But before long, I needed those credits to take other classes. Praying for added help, I started the class, and knowing my propensity to struggle, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to pass the course. It didn't take as much as I thought and by the end of the semester, I surprised myself with an A. From that point on, I would no longer bank on my brilliance (because it apparently didn't help before) and studying became my game. I became that kid who cried when an A- showed up on my transcript going forward.

And now I am forcing those same study habits on my kids. Last year, supposedly according to Tiffany, I promised Dallin a trip to Disneyland if he got straight 3's in 4th grade. So far he has and Tiffany is making me fulfil my promise. I don't recall the promise, though I probably made it as a passing comment having no real merit to me. However, the boy heard it and has never questioned if I would follow through with it or not; he expects his dad is a man of his word. So, I best be just that (so a Disneyland trip is in the works). Oh, and one more thing, I don't agree with this kind of incentive. So just because we are doing it, I do not condone it. I think good grades are the incentive itself - a real intrinsic based award.

So, while my friends perhaps didn't help me get good grades in High School (though they would argue that I could have been a worse student if they weren't my friends), they did give me the desire to go to college. So yes, mom, my friends did rub off on me, it just took 15 years to figure it out. (And as a tie back to the previous post, this shows that Emma's friends are an important part of her education and ought to be considered as we attempt to help her make a decision).

Cheers,

Nathan

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