Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Authority Always Wins

Sometimes I just wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

I was a straight-A student in high school. A favorite of the teachers I loved. Some would have even called me a teacher's pet. But the ones I didn't like or respect? Oh boy!

I was the ringleader in getting our French teacher to quit my sophomore year because I hated her so much. I sassed her. Mocked her. Got in her face and yelled at her when she told my class that her three-year old spoke better French than we did. Laughed at her when she left the classroom in tears because we refused to listen to her. That, by the way, was the last time we ever saw her.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly proud of that. I'm just using it as an example of my disdain for authority when it's an authority I can't respect. One form of authority I have a very difficult time with is making rules for the sake of having rules or rules that don't make sense or which are applied broadly leaving no room for individuals to determine whether or not they need the rule.

This is a trait that does not serve me well. It is a trait that leads me to instantly distrust teachers, principals, and school adminstrators in general. I feel they're all out to make me and my child conform to their ideas of what is normal and appropriate while they destroy any spark of creativity that might arise in anyone around them.

I know. There are some awesome teachers who inspire creativity. I know many of them and admire them greatly. They're not usually the ones who become administrators. Sadly.

All this came up for me today when I tried to cross the circular driveway in front of my son's school in a crosswalk (thank you, very much). An 8-year old school patrol nazi stuck her stop sign in my face and yelled, You can't cross there!

But it's a crosswalk, I replied, looking inquisitive.

Well, you can't walk across there. It's not allowed.

Quite maturely, I responded Well, that's the stupidest rule I've ever heard of. Can't cross the street in a crosswalk!

Naturally, all this transpired in front of Brendan. Yay me! Setting such a fine example. And of course, in front of the sternest looking female priest (priestess?) I've ever seen. I've noticed her all week walking her kids in, wearing her priest collar, and thinking nice things about her because she's obviously a minister of some sort. Unless, of course, she gets off on impersonating an Episcopal priest, which is actually kind of funny.

Anyway, when I said that the rule was stupid and got frustrated because the crossing guard Nazi refused to let me cross the street, she turned around and glared at me. Seriously!

If looks could kill, I'd be down at the funeral home right now.

Priest! Phhhh! Hello? Human frailty? Obvious parent of a pre-K kid? Don't know the arbitrary insane rules yet because handbooks haven't been given out yet on the third day of school!

That actually bothered me more than the rule itself. I'm on a show-a-little-kindness kick right now and it's really frustrating to me when other people are critical of the people around them when they show human emotion. Which, I realize is hypocritical because that's all this woman did and just because she's a priest I shouldn't expect her to behave any differently than the rest of us and I'm sure she didn't like me questioning safety rules in front of her kids, but ya know, I'm human. I'm carrying a 22-lb baby and holding a 4-year old's hand and carrying his book bag and trying to take the shortest route into the school. I'm an adult who knows how to cross a street without getting hit. Hell, I managed to survive all my life without getting hit by a car and my schools never had crossing guards and I walked over a mile to and from school.

I guess, what I'm trying to say here, is that if you're going to walk around wearing a giant wooden cross around your neck, a priest's collar, and you claim to represent the Highest Authority Of All, you might try showing a little good will toward the rest of us fuck ups.


At least until we grow up and learn to accept earthly authority or at least county school board authority a bit more?

Monday, August 13, 2007

School Night

My baby's growing up.

Brendan began his life as a public school student today, entering pre-Kindergarten at our neighborhood school. Very exciting. And not nearly as sad as I thought it would be.

I think any sad or melancholy emotions I might have experienced were overshadowed by my concern for him attending public school instead of private school. I never thought it would be an issue for me. I'm the product of public school and I turned out fine.

Of course, the public schools I attended were in a small town with lots and lots of money for educating kids. Our schools were always safe, clean, and our teachers reliable.

Here? I don't know.

I swear a child is going to get lost in Brendan's classroom. Everyone assures me the teacher, though not great, loves the kids. But her classroom looks like a bomb went off. It's dirty, cluttered, and totally chaotic. I hate it. It's driving me nuts.

I feel like I'm being closed-minded somehow. The school has such a good reputation, but I just feel like he's going to get lost in the shuffle of it. It's so different than the sweet little private preschool he was going to.

After dropping him off today, I found myself hoping he'd start hanging around this particular group of kids who were, as I told Scott, destined to become the kind of kids I hated growing up. Rich, preppy, athletic, good-looking. Not the kids with whom I was hanging out. But they were the most easily identifiable group to me. None of the other kids seemed quite....with it somehow.

Nope. I was hanging with the freaks and geeks, rebels and smart kids. Not losers. But not the kids running the show either.

As much as I hated those kids and still disapprove of those sorts of people as adults, I find myself thinking life will be easier for Brendan if he gravitates toward those people. And then I hate myself for thinking that way.

I just have to hope and pray that he finds his own way and figures out who he is and then I have to love him and embrace him whether he turns out to be a brain, a jock, a criminal, or a basket case, or something in between.