School started on Monday, a fact that caused much angst around here. Mostly from one person. A person at an age where life is extremely dramatic.
Whenever school was mentioned -- always accidentally since we all knew not to mention it -- this person would start with the complaints.
"Seriously, what is the deal with you and school?" I finally asked him.
"It is pointless! It never ends, it's all about everything you don't know and your performance on some test is the only thing that really matters. It's always about moving on to the next thing."
"Yeah...it's learning! You don't know everything yet, and of course they have to move on to the next thing. I don't even know what you imagine changing about this system, the entire point is pretty much to learn one thing and then move on to new things," I replied, confounded.
This was the wrong answer. Any answer was the wrong answer. Anything you say to an irate 7th grader is likely to be the wrong thing.
"It doesn't matter. None of it matters. I'll end up working for Target for $5 an hour, unable to support myself until I die of old age."
I'm at a phase of life where Target sounds like a pretty sweet gig. No offense Target employees, but how stressful could it be? And there's the employee discount and you get to look at things. I wondered why he chose Target in this rant.
"Well, at least you know what you don't want! That's something! Start there. Do you even know the opportunities available to your generation? And your dad and I totally support whatever you want to do or be -- no one is demanding you grow up to go to med school. You don't have to work retail or in a cubicle if you don't want, you could have a career where you work for yourself, pretty much right out of the gate but it will take hustle! Go to art school, write comics, build computers, do whatever you want! Nurture your creativity and find skills that will help you leverage your talent for profit. But you will have to do things you don't like. You know, you could learn to code, and by the age of 16 you could be building websites for clueless middle-aged business people! You could be making $1000 or more a pop! And then grow into your own business after college but you have to cultivate your interests and do the hard work, even if it's boring now. The world is your oyster, you need --"
Both boys had been watching this speech intently and little kid interrupted, "Wait. The world is his oyster? Why would you say that, mom? Like, the world is your seafood, son, but not even expensive seafood like lobster, just an oyster -- one oyster -- which is probably what, like, a dollar? I don't even know but I don't think it's that big of a deal. The world is your oyster, mom? I mean, really?"
I paused and realized it is a weird thing to say. "That is a thing people say, I didn't make it up. It means that you're the pearl and that --"
Big Kid started ranting again. "Yes. It means that I am TRAPPED in this WORLD and that a seagull will probably SWOOP down and pick me up and POOP ME OUT wherever! I have no control!"
"Okay, well, we lost all momentum with this discussion. Do what you want but school is starting and you have to go."
I was on a roll for a minute there. I'm new to this whole practically a teen thing, it's super tricky.
We're almost one week of school down and he says it's slightly better than prison so I think it's going really well.
You're apparently doing something right because your kids are awesome. "Not even expensive seafood." I just about snorted coffee out my nose.
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