I was always a good student. Two out of three Rs - Reading and 'Riting (oh please) - were so easy for me that I don't remember having to learn to do them. They just came naturally. And math wasn't a problem, either, at least not until I got to quadratic equations in high school.
For my brother and my mom, it wasn't as pleasant. They both have the types of learning disabilities that make reading difficult. As a result, they came out of school feeling like stupid failures. It kills me that they came out of school worse off than they went in.
Neither of them are unskilled, however. My mom has incredible people skills. She could have done anything in sales, teaching or social work - any people-intensive profession. She chose to stay home and raise five amazing children (ahem).
My brother has stellar hand-eye coordination and artistic abilities. He is also just a damn fine, decent human being - the kind of guy who you would trust with your car, your wife, your only child. He has a great job, a beautiful wife of over 25 years, a lovely home, 2 fine daughters and 6 perfect grandchildren.
About 10 years ago, I dated a guy who owned a machine shop. He made beautiful, clever parts for aircraft and for miscellaneous machines. He needed an assistant and pressed me into service.
I could not do the job. I have a learning disability that not only prevents me from telling left from right, but keeps me from being able to tell when a part is in a machine upside down or rightside up. After I screwed up about 1000 parts, he realized I was unteachable, a failure.
I wonder how different my life and self-image would be if elementary school was all about building things and dealing with shapes rather than reading, writing and math.
I'm no more intelligent than my brother or mother. I just have a type of intelligence that is well-rewarded in school, and they don't. I got lucky on that one.
Please remember this story the next time you're worried about how your kid is doing in school. They may not have school skills. And they may do ok in life in spite of it all.
Linkateria is jammed full of linky goodness today. Photos of mad cats, immaturity explained, and of course a dash of Bush-bashing to make the whole thing complete and perfect.