Thursday, April 7, 2011

Seeing Opportunities Where Others See Limits

Last night, The Boy asked me for two dollars and to sign a permission slip.  I was interested to see that his school was taking him on a college visit to West Chester University.  In junior year the students are divided into three "academies", one for technical skills, one for restaurant and hotel management and one for teaching.  I was amazed to learn that my son had been entered into the teaching category.  I have been looking into culinary schools for him for after he graduates from high school and here the dear boy has set his sights on becoming a teacher.

When he was first diagnosed on the autistic scale of disorders some years ago, the psychologist freely admitted that she hoped she would be proven wrong but she saw his ability to earn a decent living wage limited to busing tables or building salads in a restaurant.  Now he thinks he wants to go to Penn State.  There is a technical difficulty with this in that he has been resistant to sit for the SAT's because he is convinced he will fail, but we are trying to encourage him to give it a try anyway, because he really has nothing to lose. 

When I was in high school, I struggled mightily with algebra.  I would seek out the top students in the class to help me, and try as they might, they couldn't.  Sometimes when people are on a plane so far above us, they don't know how to relate things in simple terms.  One of the students, determined to help, suggested that I seek out one of the C students instead on the theory that our learning styles and abilities might be closer.  That student was a genius as far as I'm concerned because I instantly connected with my new tutor.  That's why I wouldn't entirely rule out the possibility of this kid of mine going to college and maybe even becoming a teacher.  Maybe he can work with young people who are in a boat similar to his.  The worst thing I could do is tell him he can't do something based on what a psychologist thought years ago.

The youngest has been asked to do another project for our pastor.  He found a series of videos that he'd like her to compile into one DVD so he can use it as a teaching tool for priests who'd like to learn how to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.  She's already busied herself working on this.  I was thinking of how a few weeks ago, the cantor at another church pooh-poohed the TLM because women are not permitted to serve at the altar. Rebecca looked her straight in the eye and told her it didn't bother her one bit.   While it is true that women are not invited to join the altar crew, it's not true that they cannot serve.  There are many ways that a young lady can serve Our Lord and her parish without ever setting foot in the sacristy. I take a certain amount of pride in the knowledge that this little project might enable my young lady, in some small indirect way, to help a priest learn this beautiful expression of the liturgy.

Have a blessed and spiritually fruitful Friday and be on your guard against the Father of Lies.  In the words of Father Dennis, he's walking the streets. 

See you Saturday .


  1. Joyce: How wonderful. You needed some good news. It is so obvious to me that your wonderful children have a wonderful Mother.

  2. Maria, thank you, but I always feel like I could have done more. All in all, I feel very fortunate for them to be on the paths that they are. I just pray the oldest one finds her way to that path.
    Thanks for your kindness and your sweet presence.

  3. You are right on the mark with your theory for his teaching career should he choose to follow that. I have said for years that kids are labeled as autistic with negative connotations. I truly believe they just don't learn the way most people do. There is brillance in what they can do but sometimes that gift takes a toll on other areas. There is a need for teaching that is not a cookie cutter method. You need to find "the thing" that excites them to unlock that area of brillance.

    I hated SATs and ACTs. I could breeze by getting As and Bs without trying but didn't do so well on the SATs. My husband graduated HS with a 1.something (and I think it's because they liked me!) but scored in the upper 99 percentile on the SATs. We learn differently- I memorized almost immediately- he is more abstract but can see patterns where I flounder. He aced his college Eng comp, completely made up and typed the night before. What does that tell you about SAT results? Tell your son not to stress out over it.

  4. That is such good news.

    In my job, I see psychiatric professionals throw around diagnoses and prognoses around like they are nothing. I wish they would consider how devastating it can be and how they just *might* not be right.

  5. God bless your son! I hope he goes far. No matter what, he's definitely an over achiever and he ought to be proud.


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