Monday, May 30, 2011

We’re Not All Superstars, Mrs. Gaga.

A couple of weeks ago, N received her middle school placement for next year and was sad to find out it was her fourth choice. Not that her new school is terrible, because we only selected those with impeccable reputations, math and reading scores, and high retention and graduation rates. But obviously- it wasn’t where she really wanted to go.

Poor N was disappointed, and I was disappointed for her, but this is just a part of life, and better that she learn it now rather than later. I didn’t get into my first-choice high school (Stuyvesant) or college (St. John’s), and K didn’t get into her first-choice high school (Millenium), either. We survived it all and didn’t die. We still ended up attending pretty good schools, whether we really wanted to be there or not.

I explained to N that any number of factors could have kept her from being accepted at her first-choice middle school: her lackluster attendance, teacher recommendations, her OLSAT score (699 out of 798) or her interview/application. I also explained that no matter how well you think you’re doing, someone else might be going that extra mile for the absolute perfect grades, sacrificing TV time and recreational periods outdoors. And I can guarantee you- that kid AIN’T N.

She’s not a dummy; she brings home excellent grades because she’s smart and I demand them. But she’s her mother’s daughter; a lazy student, putting in the bare minimum amount of work. Juuuuust enough to say “I did it!” instead of working harder and saying “I did it well!” It’s something we continue to struggle with and that will follow us all the way until she graduates from M.I.T.

What? I can dream, OKAY?!

The point of all this? We can’t all be number one because then number one status would be pointless. Why strive to be the best if there’s no distinction in it anymore? That’s why Communism doesn’t work (YEAH, I SAID IT. COME AT ME, BRO!).

I had to have this conversation with N, as much as it broke my heart to see her upset, because it’s necessary for her to see that hard work yields awesome results, but mediocre efforts gets you your fourth-choice middle school.

*smooches...preparing for a long 2011-2012 school year*
I need this child to be more serious about her work...