Dear Kid,

I had the great joy of eavesdropping on a conversation today. It was in a public place and while there were open tables for miles around the conversatees chose to sit directly behind me. So I felt totally justified in listening.

One person was a teenage boy, probably a junior in high school. The other was a retired school teacher who I see frequently at the gym. She now tutors students especially for improvement in their SAT and ACT scores. She’s a strict sort, not one to put up with nonsense, excuses, or mumbling. Probably one of those teachers who made her students do a ton of work and they loved her for it.

What struck me was how different people in our lives can speak to us in the same way but with totally different results. (This is not news, but it is worth repeating.)

Any fool can know. The point is to understand. Albert Einstein DearKidLoveMom.comTeacher: Did you read the parts I told you to?
Student: Yes, but I had a little trouble with one
Teacher: Let’s look at it. (They talk.) How do you know x?
Student mumbles
Teacher: No, don’t tell me, show me. Where did you find that in this passage? Here? No. You have to look further.

An alternate scenario:

Mom: Darling, you mentioned you didn’t understand x. Do you need help with your homework?
Kid (rolls eyes): I can do my homework, Mother. Leave me alone.
Mom: Well, I’m here if you want to review anything
Kid: I SAID I’m FINE and I DON’T NEED HELP!! (storms off to text 4,000 people about the injustices in the world)

Thank heavens parents aren’t the only people in the world who care.

Love, Mom