Earlier this year, Ryan expressed interest in owning an iPod. Late in the spring, my seester-in-love worked out a trade with Al (who was divesting himself of all things Apple) to get his iTouch in return for her iPod. Al then brokered a deal with Ryan to be able to purchase that iPod if he was interested–and if he continued to do well (behavior-wise) in school. Once he had the money and the rest of the school year went well (especially after a setback at the beginning of May), Ryan would be able to purchase said iPod.
Then summer rolled around. And Ryan had to spend his mornings at the Hill Center for 5 weeks. And he wasn’t excited about having to spend part of his summer doing school. And the not so appropriate behavior started all over again. So we once again pushed back the eligibility criteria for purchasing the iPod. But he seemed motivated by that, and his time at Hill was productive and very helpful for him.
And so, during the last week of the 5 at Hill, Al and I had our parent-teacher conference to get a recap of the work Ryan did this summer. His teachers had very good things to say about him–both in terms of his personality and behavior as well as the kind of progress he made in such a short time. Ryan was a little nervous about the conference–he still associates parent-teacher communication with something he’s done wrong and nothing he’s done well. After we finished that meeting, we congratulated him on being able to become the proud owner of a sleek black iPod Nano.
And we went to lunch at one of his favorite places.
Good work, kiddo.
If you follow basketball, you don’t have to be a NC State fan to know about the Cardiac Pack of 1983. Coached by the ebullient Jimmy V, those college kids wore glass slippers to the big dance that night–and it was the other team’s ride that turned into a pumpkin. Every year, during March Madness, the moment where Jimmy V realized his kids had won and he had no one to hug is included in every montage on every station covering the tournament. We all remember that moment for Jimmy V…and we all remember his fight with cancer and his immortal words, “Don’t give up. Never ever give up.”
Enter a 15 year old middle schooler with the education of a second grader–who is becoming more of a true adolescent boy every single day. It’s also the last 2 or so weeks of school and he’s pretty much toast. And has once again given up on school. He finally said he was not happy with being pulled out of social studies for yet ANOTHER period of ESL–especially when he was given no say in the matter. He’s tired of school. And he’s an adolescent boy.
And so, we had another weekend at the grandparents’ house with another “forgotten” project. Only this time, the project was forgotten on purpose. And so, we had another come to Jesus meeting with Ryan (and moved his desk back out of his office to a more distraction free zone). Somewhere in all of that, we looked at him and said “We love you and the rest of your family loves you. Bunches. And we are not going to give up on you. You may try to give up on school. You may try to take the easy way out. We know it’s hard. We know you got dealt a crappy hand (OK–that was said more concretely) and didn’t start school when you should have. We know it’s really hard right now. But we are going to keep working to help you and help make it as easy as we can. And we are not giving up.”
And we’re not.
We found out this week that Ryan has been accepted at the Hill Center for both the summer program (remediation) and for the academic year. And we are excited about the possibility that he can get some of the support he so desperately needs. We’re trying to work out the logistics of getting him from point A to point B, but we’re going to make it work.