Friday, March 11, 2011

a different kind of cool

I usually start out sane.  I begin my blogging every night with rational rants.  But then things always head south.  My blabber starts to sound a little neurotic...and I always end up pushing save instead of publish.  I rationalize that the world just isn't ready.  One day...years down the road...I'll hit Publish All.  Just like Mark Twain waited 100 years, because after a while crazy seems cute...and all the ramblings will be like a treasure hunt...trying to find bits of gold amongst the junk.

Dalton got accepted in to a charter school that we had applied to.  It's for next year.  I really love our elementary school, so it was a HARD sell.  What I don't love are massive jr highs.  I's me reacting to the fact that I HATED jr high...but seriously- who doesn't?  Well, I know who doesn't...the three people who have never had a zit, or a pair of jeans bigger than a zero, or the kid that plays on every sports team.

Problem is, my boy is example number three.  So, why not let him go to the jr high with 1500 kids, and be the king bee amongst the minions?  My brother was like, "So, let me get this straight, most parents WANT their kids to be popular, straight, and athletic, and you're saying those are bad things?"  Nooo, well- kind of no.  It's not that I want him to be some loner drag queen...I just think that that kind of misery breeds character.  So what kind of a mother am I if I am depriving my beautiful, popular, talented, well rounded, athletic boy the opportunity to grow via some good 'ol fashion teenage angst?  (read sarcasm here).

Didn't you ever know that kid who had it all...who was perfect...who got asked to every dance months before?...I pity them.  Well I do that I know that they have no personality whatsoever to speak of, and it's all thanks to their rugged good looks, perfect smile with no braces needed, married parents who actually liked each other, and their long shiny hair.  Back then I envied them to the point where I had green smoke shooting out my nose and ears.  But today- oh you poor misery to give you the personality you so desperately need.  Me, I had enough angst and teenage misery to last me fifty lives.  I have personality seeping out my pores...what can I say...I'm blessed.

So, back to my darling son.  No, I don't want to ruin him.  But I want him to grow.   I want him to want more out of life than to be the high school quarterback.  I want him to get to know kids who aren't just like him.  I want him to experience life in new ways, and not just from the view of his bubble on the east bench.  So, when I heard about the Salt Lake Arts Academy, I was curious.

They are located in a scuffy part of downtown, near Liberty Park, in what used to be a bank building I believe.  They are a small school, with only 500 kids in grades 5th through 8th.  They have a totally different take on education than most schools, where the kids have to be self motivated, and the campus is really all of downtown.  Instead of doing Physical Education in a gym, they walk to Liberty Park.  Instead of doing reading in a library, they take trax to the Main Library downtown.  There are no lunch ladies- they bring their own, or buy from the school store.  There are electric guitars that play with the orchestra.  There are kids of all grades in all's not divided up by age but by skill level, so 5th graders can do math with 8th graders if that is where they are comfortable.  The school is made up of kids from all walks of life, ethnicities, and backgrounds.  They dissect pigs and sharks in "dissection club", they learn one of three languages four days a week before school if they choose.  It is the opposite of the enormous jr high experience that is typical.

So, I was loving it from day one.  I mean it's not ideal when you're in fifth grade..but it's ideal when you're in 7th and 8th.  Instead of being a little guppy in a giant sea, you are in a group of kids where everyone knows everyone, and "being cool" is just as relevant for the kid who is the best at math or theatre, or art, as it is for the kid who is the best at soccer.

Dalton had his "shadow day" today.  He got to hang out at the school for two hours and shadow the older kids to see what their day was like.  He told me that the science teacher didn't talk, but typed on to his computer which showed the class the words on a large screen, because he has something wrong with his throat...OK, that is weird.  What else?...well- the math teacher was cool, and the school was way more fun than Uintah where you have to just sit in the same desk every day, and he found other boys who play soccer, and he is now really excited to go there (all his words).

So we had thai at Tasty Thai on the way home and I just love him.  He is becoming this really wonderful, compassionate person who is aware of the world and wants to do good.  He is so darn great...and I told him so.  I told him, as we dug in to our pad thai and spring rolls, that he was going to have such a great life.  That he was going to do wonderful things and make the world better.  That I was so excited for see what he does in his life.  And it's true.

So, hopefully he'll look back and thank me.  Thank me that he wasn't the jock homecoming king?...I don't know.  If I totally get it wrong, I'll just do it all differently with Garrett and then at least one of my boys will turn out OK.  KIDDING of course.  But honestly, isn't that parenthood?...stressing yourself out with every conceivable situation until you practically have a breakdown, from all the what if's and possible catastrophes that you finally shout uncle and just pick the one that you think will maybe keep your kid out of therapy for at least the next year, while you figure out your next move in the "let's-try-not-to-totally-screw-our-kids-up" game of life.  I bet I have the heart of an 80 year old.  It probably beats like a hummingbird.

So, that was our day today...hoping for a different kind of good when it comes to school next year.

No comments: