I’ve heard the panic stories that can follow a disappointing parent/teacher conference, but until now I’ve never had to experience one. Our previous parent/teacher conferences left us wondering if Addie was some kind of genius. (When it comes to parental pride and exaggeration we have no shame.)
So far the only thing that has worried us about Addie in school is whether she’s going to get too bored. That’s what Casey went through when she was in school. She wasn’t getting challenged enough, so she just sat back and did other things instead of paying attention. I, on the other hand, was just flat out lazy when it came to school.
If whatever we were doing didn’t involve some kind of competition, I put in as little effort as possible. Make it some kind of challenge, like seeing who could read the most Newbery Award winning books in the 3rd grade and I’ll read The Story of Mankind, all 500 or so pages of it, just so I can win the competition.
Addie has Casey’s smarts. She reads at about a 4th or 5th grade level and excels in pretty much every area of school, and we’re incredibly proud of her. However, when it comes to math and volunteering answers in class, she struggles. There’s no question that she gets those traits from me.
I’ve always hated being in large groups of people, and I especially hate interacting socially with large groups of people. Speaking in front of people isn’t my thing, either. I was never the kid who volunteered an answer in class. Even in law school, I figured out where the perfect place to sit was so I didn’t get called on by the teacher any more than was absolutely necessary. When it came to math, it took some time before it began to click. I’m pretty sure that I think of math in a different way than most people, and I have no doubt Addie will end up the same way.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m not all that worried about Addie. Here I am having gone through life with those same traits and without Casey’s strengths and I’ve turned out alright. Addie has my traits, but she also has Casey’s strengths. In the end, I have no doubt Addie will be alright. In fact, I bet she ends up better off than I am now—she’s a pretty good kid. There will come a point where the concept of math will begin to click in her brain.
And I doubt she’ll ever really suffer a consequence for not volunteering much in class. She’s not socially awkward like me, she just prefers to sit back and listen. I was once told on my mission that when I spoke they listened because it meant whatever I was saying was important. In their view, I didn’t mess around and talk about unimportant things so they were sure to listen when I vocally volunteered something. Maybe that trait, which Addie’s teacher views as a weakness, can actually become a strength for Addie.
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