Friday, December 11, 2009

School is out...

So I just received my kids final year reports, they very young so obviously the reports are not grades, more along the lines of how they adapt and fit into group situations and partake in activities.
I read these reports from a different viewpoint to what I normally would have, I mean, really, how important is it whether or not they can cut a circle or not?

At dinner the other night with 2 of my oldest male friends, we were all discussing our dreams and expectations of our kids. My friends were going on about how they hope for sportsmen, CEOs, lawyers etc etc, my response was quiet simply...."I want happy kids." Is that not the goal? Where did we lose sight of that? surely it does not matter what they choose to do, but rather about how happy they are doing it!

I was not a happy child....AT ALL! I was seriously insecure, and was in a school system that was extremely counter productive for me. In Grade 2, I had a teacher who single handily managed to negatively impact my life in a huge way, it took me years to overcome.
I bumped into her a little while ago, she runs a restaurant that I frequent. She in a very shy and demure tone mentioned to me that she had taught me in Grade 2.
That night I went home to find my report and grade 2 pictures (My Mom is anal and pedantic like that, right down to my hair clippings, toe nail cuttings and milk teeth), there she was, and reading the report bought back the trauma of my Grade 2 experiences. My teacher had decided to hold me back for another year, increasing her chances to really fuck up my life, and all for the wrong reasons, rather than address my uniqueness and issues, I was labelled as different.

Labels are dangerous things, especially for children, because children love structure, so when you give them the structure of a label they accordingly buy into it, regardless of whether or not it is fairly pinned on or not.
The gay world loves it's labels, and boxes, I was amazed at how many little neat boxes there are to fit, bottom, vers, fat,fem,gay,bi,straight acting etc etc etc etc etc, , and you can even use several of these boxes together such as "top ver, wm, cur" which means a curios white male who prefers topping, but would bottom as well...the list goes on and on.

Anyhow, the next day I decided to take my report and pictures and to go and visit this teacher again. As I walked in a saw her sitting in the back of the restaurant, I approached with excitement to now be able to confront her as a successful adult, and not the loser with little hope she had described me as.
I greeted her and said to her "look what I found". As I reached for the report she burst out crying, saying "I was a terrible teacher and I am so sorry". It had haunted her for years, but had a far greater impact on me than I think she will ever understand. In a child's life, the people with influence are so vital in the person that we become, yet as parents we trust our kids futures on so called experts with little regard for the impact and power the yield, don't get me wrong there are some amazing teachers out there, and I was lucky to find one in later life who helped me rebuild my life. We send our kids off to be prepared to fit into society, and they are taught how to think as opposed to how to think for themselves.

This nearly happened to my daughter in the middle of this year, they tried labelling her, except unlike my parents, I never allowed it to happen. And in fact with great expense, and unfortunately undue stress on my daughter I was able to prove the school wrong. I wish I never had to, but I knew that I wished my parents never just accepted what was told to them, and had given me more of a chance....even if it meant fighting the system a bit. My daughter now seems to be thriving again, and I am excited to have her out of the clutches of a person, who should never have been able to have the impact on little futures that she does.

So... I have decided that even with all the gay terminology and boxes, I will choose to create my own box, and my own identity. One that fits me, not one that I need to try and fit into. This is me claiming my life, and trying to let it be my construct going forward, although I by no means am here to fight society, no, no no, I am simply trying to change the way I live in it....


  1. Just found your blog and enjoyed both posts. I am waiting for a follow up on your first - are you going to meet the guy? I hope for the best for you, whatever that is.

    In response to your second post, sometimes a label for a child does help. I'm a married (to another man, of course) gay father of a six year old son. For over a year I thought that there was something really wrong with my son. He was so out of control that I didn't want to be around him at times. My more attentive husband did research, had him see two psychologists and a psychiatrist, and we now have a diagnosis and treatment. He's much better but still more than a handful. So for my son a label gave us an understanding of what was going on and treatment and hope for the future.

  2. I posted the comment above but that email account got screwed up, by me, and I can't seem to fix it. So I started over with this one. Hope to see more posts.

  3. i love this post, it makes so much sense and applaud raising children like this :) it isn't a crime to be different, so what's the panic?