Hard To Relate

When I was a kid, I pretty much loved school.  Learning was fun for me, probably because it came easily and because I did well.  I never broke the rules, I never got in trouble, I did what I was told, and I loved the praise and the positive feedback that I got from my teachers.  My husband, too, was a similar kind of student.  As adults, we relate to each other in terms of our enjoyment of learning new things, our motivation to do well, and our willingness to work hard for what we want.

My husband and I chose to be with each other because (among other things), we both value these traits in a partner.  But as parents, we don’t get to choose who our children are.  We’re partnered for life with these little people, even if they have personalities that are completely opposite from our own, even if they have character traits that we don’t quite understand.  Even if we can’t totally relate to them.  It’s an exercise in patience and tolerance, and in learning how not to project our own feelings onto the children we’ve created.  It is, in short, not easy.

My son does not enjoy school.  There are things about school that he enjoys – recess, lunch, PE, sometimes Computer and Library – but when it comes to the actual core subjects, he more or less just tolerates them.  I have to force him to read books, and he wants to know, up front, the minimum number of pages he has to read.  When his friends’ parents ask if he’d be interested in joining their kids for math or science camp in the summer, I politely decline.  He’s addicted to Minecraft, but when I suggest that he take a class in order to learn how to build his own Minecraft mods or to create his own server, he says he’d rather just play.  As someone who reads voraciously and who still gets excited when browsing through college course descriptions, it’s hard for me to relate.