Mrs. Summers won't Like that
September 26, 2016, Mrs. Summers Won't Like That
Let's talk about the challenges parents of young children face. Yes, the smiles of your children are really rewarding, and the things that they do in their daily life can add that touch of salt and pepper to an otherwise boring day. Unfortunately, there are times when a boring day sounds like a really good thing. Such was my father’s day 64 years ago, when I was six and in the first grade at Henry R. Clissold elementary school.
It was the second week in September, and thus my second week of big kid school. Sitting still was not something that came easy to me. Our wooden desks were screwed solid to the floor. I know because I tried really hard to move them. They did, however, give me a chance to demonstrate my skills as a wood carver when I used my pencil to carve my name in the top. Week two and already my parents had received the first of many letters from the school.
While the letter caused a bit of a stir at home, my life held a much bigger problem. Here I was two weeks into big kid school and I still had not figured out the name of the grumpy woman running the class. I knew my teacher’s name would be Mrs. Summers, but to my knowledge she hadn’t arrived yet. The grumpy woman running the class kept telling me, “Mrs. Summers won’t like that”. All I could figure out was when she did arrive I was in for trouble. And then there was the reading thing.
My dad, the lawyer, was real big on me learning to read. He would sit with me for a while as we shared Dick, Jane and Spot the dog. Then he would get up, walk around for a while, and then come back for round two. One particular evening, after going several rounds with Dick and Jane, I was packed into the car and driven to the eye doctor. Even at age 6 I could sense my dad’s disappointment when he was told that there was nothing wrong with my eyes.
In 1953 things like ADHD and Dyslexia did not exist. My poor dad had nothing to point to. The facts that I would reverse words, miss them completely, lose my place, and challenge the peace and quiet of the school could only fall into one of two categories – heredity or environment.
Fortunately, Dad stayed with me and let me continue to turn those next cards. It wasn’t always pretty, and it didn’t always turn out like he expected. But, we got over the hard part, and with a lot of trial and error I learned to compensate for my un-named challenges. It was not an easy journey for him either. I smile now, 64 years later, when I think about how, back then, a boring day for my father was not a bad thing. By the way, it was in my 5th week of school that I finally discovered that the grumpy woman was the dreaded Mrs. Summers.
Moral - For a parent a boring day can be good. Being a parent is about helping you child turn the next card, never knowing for sure what that will look like. This is love being lived out.