Well, my Logan is officially done high school. Wednesday of this week was his last day and we were all a little verklempt over it. Logan and I are always up together first thing in the day and I asked him how he was feeling about the end of this phase of this life.
“Honestly, I’m a bit sad. I like school.”
Yep, you read that right. Logan is one of the kids that enjoys everything about education. He is an active learner, loves the structure of the day, and appreciates the opportunity to interact with kids that he wouldn’t normally see around town. He has enjoyed challenging conversations with his teachers and he loves to be funny. As a parent and an educator, my heart swelled when he articulated those feelings. How lucky is he that this environment we spend so much time in makes him happy? Well, the answer is very. Because for every Logan Inwood in a class, there are four others who are hating every moment.
Enter Luke Inwood. Luke began to dislike school when it started to infringe on his social life. lol. Right about seventh grade. Luke had been an introverted kid until he was ten, and then, as Mrs. Atlas likes to tell it, he came waaaaay out of his shell. Like, “let’s get him back in there” kind of way out. lol Luke became beautiful and smart and popular and athletic all at the same time. And when the hormones hit, he became beautiful and smart and popular and athletic and a jackass. The EGO on this boy. And the mouth. And all of those qualities can make for an incredibly difficult dynamic between a teacher and a student. Or a parent and a child, truth be told.
To say that Luke had a rough experience at school from eighth grade on is somehow an understatement. He swore, slept, and sassed his way through five years. I tell people Luke had 27 dhalls the first month of high school and they wonder how that’s even possible, but if you knew Luke and witnessed his singular hatred of authority, it’s a miracle he wasn’t expelled. Because despite all this, Luke showed up for school. Almost every day. The boy just wanted to be with his friends and make them laugh. That’s all. But school overcomplicates things and we need you to look like you’re learning, and we need you to do homework, and we need you to pass state tests, and we want you to graduate and go to a good college, and we definitely don’t want any lip while you’re doing it.
There was a time when Luke was so incredibly beaten down by the system that we actually begged him to quit. He wouldn’t because he always wanted his crew to think the best of him. The pain he endured was worth it if his friends still thought highly of him. King Luke Forever.
Sadly, school turned out to be the final straw for my boy. Now don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of culminating factors that lead to Luke’s decision, but school did not help. Raising a boy and losing a boy who had such a rough school experience changed me as an educator. In my short tenure I have had more than a few Luke Inwoods in my class. I would like to think my peers would tell you I love the ones with “personality”. lol. I’m not perfect or better than anyone else, but my intention is more clear because of my experience. Love them, love them, love them. Joy in the learning, joy in the learning, joy in the learning.
So here’s what I need you to know: If you have a Logan Inwood, thank the Universe every day. We go to school for at least thirteen years of our lives and if your child loves it, the path is so much easier. Thank your child while you are at it! Thank you, Lolo! And if you have a Luke Inwood… well, thank the Universe every day. Trust me when I say, when they are gone, the silence left behind in the wake of their huge personalities is deafening. So embrace it and love them for it and remind yourself and your child that school is not the end all be all. Who you are as a student does NOT define who you are as a human being. Value their kindness and their dancing and their karate chop and their fast ball AND THEIR HEART as much, or more, than their grades. Luke Inwood may not have been the world’s best student, but he loved who he loved fiercely. And isn’t that the whole point?