Why Do I Need Help?
After a two-hour IEP “review,” Bill and I prepared to present our findings to Dylan: three choices of how to take responsibility for himself and turn in his papers on time.
Being the anal mom that I am, I typed up his choices in color-coded font, using italics as appropriate. I also spent two hours (when I should have been working) printing out encouraging research about mechanical and automotive engineering colleges, and creating a collage of quotes from, and facts about Albert Einstein, who reminds me of Dylan in many ways.
We called him in to discuss the options at 8 p.m. and Dylan sat down with a loud moan. “Another hour of talking about being sad,” he said. This was in reference to the previous two nights, when he went to bed crying about his “hard” life, and how he already felt “like a complete idiot and a jerk.”
Middle school is crushing his spirit. Hence, the Einstein quote in the collage I made for him: “Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.” I enlarged that one especially.
So we said to Dylan, no, this wasn’t time to be sad. We wanted to talk to him about the IEP meeting. He grumbled again. In frustration, I said, “Fine. If you don’t want to talk, don’t talk. You can figure this out all on your own.”
And he stormed out of the room. Took a shower, watched a video, went to his room.
He tore down the Einstein collage without reading it. He never looked at his choices. The engineering college research is sitting in a pile on the floor next to me. We certainly never got to that.
I spent my whole day working for him, trying to encourage him, helping him in the best ways I knew how. I offered love and positive affirmations. I organized everything for him into the simplest possible terms, without being condescending. I spoke to him like an adult, and he responded like a child.
He broke my heart. He crushed my spirit. He didn’t take any help.
And this morning, he went off to school with a chip on his shoulder and the right to be wrong. And I watched him go.