family, humor, motherhood, parenting

A Humble Hero’s Journey

Your parents are right.”

Words more dreaded than this for a teenage boy simply do not exist.

This is where the story of our beleaguered hero begins.

He had a humble upbringing.  Raised by a beautiful, age-defying, always-dancing mother and an extremely handsome (you’re welcome, Mad Dog) and benevolent father, our hero rose unassumingly through life’s ranks and, as any good story would have it, found himself face-to-face with doom (aka high school).

Our Humble Hero was not afraid for he new his birthright.

Great men are born to great men.

He had done the math (sort of, just don’t check his eighth grade Algebra 1 transcript) and realized he had everything he needed to succeed.  He had wit, he had charm and he had incredible good looks (you’re welcome, Full Speed).

He had everything he needed except for one thing …

study skills.

Most academic heroes, grammar gods and algebraic warriors know that without such skills, failure looms large.  Their parents also know this.  These parents state the obvious and hope their progeny take heed.  Things like attending tutorials with teachers, studying in study hall (gasp!) and taking your time on tests all fall under the wisdom arc of great, parental knowledge.

Did our Humble Hero listen to these time-tested tenets of success?

Here is his story told in his own words:

Call to Adventure: The call to adventure occurs after parent night. Mad Dog learned that the Humble Hero’s L. A. teacher had tutorials. He came home and said “The Great Teacher has tutorials Tuesdays and Thursdays in the morning.

You should go”.

Refusal of the Call: Our hero ignored the call thinking that he was too cool for more school. He assured Mad Dog that everything was under control.

Acceptance of the Call: One day, the hero got his grammar/vocab quiz back. He had missed 9 grammar questions for a score of 82. It was at this moment he knew he had messed up.

Crossing the Threshold: The hero arrived at The Great Teacher’s door and he entered the special world of her classroom.

The journey had begun.

Meeting the Mentor: All heroes need a guide that shows them the ways of life. The Great Teacher showed the hero how to become one with the grammar gods.

Trials and Tests: In class, the hero had to deal with worksheets about grammar. The days went by and eventually the hero finally figured out what a preposition does.

The Supreme Ordeal: All of the hero’s hard work had prepared him for this moment. A 50 question quiz with half of those being grammar. Mere mortals could not withstand the pressure of this quiz. But, our hero isn’t mortal. Brandishing his magic weapon, (a worn down mechanical pencil), he was able to complete the quiz with only minimal suffering.

The Reward: Much to his surprise, the hero had accomplished his goal. He had gotten an A on the grammar quiz.

Return with the Elixir: The hero was overjoyed. He couldn’t wait to tell his parents what he had accomplished.

Mad Dog’s response “I was right, wasn’t I?”

The hero could only muster, “Maybe”.

From this moment forward, strange occurrences became the Humble Hero’s new normal.  As he began to attend other tutorials along with continuing to be mentored by the Great Teacher, all his test scores and grades improved.

How could it be?  Do you mean to tell me the Humble Hero had the power to succeed THE WHOLE TIME.  Move over sister, your ruby slippers got nothing on this guy.

The moral of the story is simple.

Listen to your parents.

And, maybe listen the first time.

But, then again, where’s the adventure in that?

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A special shout-out to my fearless collaborator.  Thanks for staying true to you,
children, motherhood, parenting

Winning to Me

Full Speed had a respectable seventh place finish out of thirty-seven at his school’s bee.  The difference between him participating as a fifth grader and now is unbelievable.  He used to be the smallest, now he is among the tallest.  His voice, the depth of which I found unsettling, held steady as he spouted off each letter.

I no longer saw a boy on that stage.  In his place stood a confident young man.

Leading up to the competition, T.Puzzle and I continued a lively debate.  He believes a person is awesome only if they are winning.  I still hold that awesomeness is static.  Sometimes that expresses as external achievement, but mostly it is comprised of intangibles.  I do not fault T.Puzzle for his perspective.  Our culture exalts individual, external success.  Winning makes sense to him.  I get that.

Maybe Full Speed did not technically win the spelling bee, but from my view he demonstrated what it means to succeed.  He had the nerve to get up on that stage and compete with all eyes of the auditorium zeroed in on him.

I couldn’t do that.

I probably wouldn’t even be able to spell my name right in that situation.

When it was all said and done, he bounced back quickly.  He did not entertain the notion that misspelling a word defines him a person.

That feels like winning to me.

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children, motherhood

How Do You Spell Unforgettable?

This afternoon Full Speed will participate in his school-wide spelling bee.  He beat out over 140 students to earn this spot.  I asked him if he remembered the speech I gave him before his spelling bee when he was in fifth grade.

“Nope.”

I turned my attention towards T.Puzzle.  “I gave you the same speech before your fifth grade spelling bee.  Do you remember?”

“Nope.”

“Wow,” I said.  “I really am making such a lasting impact on both of you, aren’t I?”

“Well, we both did win,” Full Speed said.

“Good point.  Maybe I know what I am talking about after all.”

Here is that unforgettable(?) speech:

“I want you to remember that you are awesome.  The amount of awesome you have inside you is static.  That means it doesn’t change.  There is nothing you can or can’t do to change this fact.  At the beginning of the spelling bee you will be awesome.  At the end of the spelling bee you will be awesome.  And during the middle, you will still be equally awesome.  Winning or losing can’t change your awesome-ness.  If you wonder how I know this it’s because when you were a baby and I held you in my arms for the very first time I loved you instantly.  I kind of already loved you before I even knew you.  Why?  It wasn’t because I thought to myself, ‘someday this kid is going to be great at spelling.’  No, it was because you were awesome.  You were then, you are now and you always will be.”

You can read the entire, memorable(?) post here:

The Story of a girl and Her First Little Buckeye

Stay tuned to learn Full Speed’s spelling fate.