Same Principal, Different Son.

There are days when I think, I quit. I want to pull my kids out of school, throw them into an RV, and wander aimlessly around the country – just me, and them. (My husband will have to stay home and work, because someone needs to pay the bills.)

It’s the schools that I want to escape – the world of rules, and authority, and being told that my child just doesn’t matter that much to anyone in the school.

For example, I visited Shane’s principal today to ask if Shane could take pictures for the school yearbook. Shane is an awesome photographer, and one of his photos has already been published – a great picture he took of our dog, Xena, which was used in a nationwide, syndicated feature story.

So I thought it would be nice if Shane could contribute his talents to his school. The principal, however, talked about things like “lost instruction time” and the many photos “already taken by a professional.” He said he would think about it and get back to me “sometime next week.”

But it sounded to me as if he’d made up his mind already. And rather than cry, I walked out on the principal, mid-sentence. I went straight to the cafeteria and told Shane that he probably wouldn’t get to take pictures for the yearbook.

Shane said, “I’m fine with that.” And he was.

The principal, who was not pleased by my behavior, followed me into the cafeteria and told us both, “I haven’t made a decision yet.” Then he went back to his office, and I went home and cried for the sheer unfairness of it all.

I had to email the principal and apologize for my rudeness, and the principal suggested starting a photography club next year – a brilliant idea.

But it didn’t keep me from crying all afternoon.

It just seems to me that Dylan, who already gets the vast majority of the attention, also goes full-force into his passions and becomes a superstar at whatever he tries. Not only has he sung solo and in choruses worldwide, but he’s a musical genius, a creative engineer and he excels at every sport he tries. (He doesn’t play sports, but only because he’s too busy because he got the lead in the school play.)

When Dylan was in fifth grade, he created his own Save the Rainforest campaign and raised hundreds of dollars to help protect the Amazon. The principal wasn’t overtly thrilled with the idea, but he arranged for Dylan to present his powerpoint to the entire student body.

Same principal, different son.

Shane is passionate about magic, and learns every trick his little hands can master. He plays the drums – quite well – and he, too, is awesome at every sport he tries. But for Shane, there is no limelight. He is a behind-the-scenes kind of guy, and he’s okay with that. He’s a different person – with a different attitude.

But he really is an excellent photographer. Shane has a knack for capturing the right image in the right moment – something I’ve never been able to do. I take a million pictures and hope one is good. Shane takes one picture, and it’s good.

I’m just so afraid that I’m letting him down, that I’m not doing enough for Shane. But rather than crawl into a hole, I’ve decided to “go bigger.” I’m going to find a photographer, someone who would be willing to spend some time with Shane, maybe teach him a few tricks of the trade.

The heck with school. Maybe Shane will have to take a few days off to explore his passion. And maybe we won’t need that RV after all.

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