report cards came out yesterday. and this quarter – for the first time in many, many quarters – all three kids earned pretty good reports. the school requires that each and every teacher write a comment about each and every student. the teachers put a good deal of thought into these comments and they – for the most part – seem to be pretty personalized. they also made me a very proud momma. who wouldn’t like to read that their 11 year old is “very intelligent” and “a voracious reader!” and that “he should do well in 6th grade”. or that their 13 year old is “friendly and responsible” and “works well with others” and “she’s a pleasant member of our class” and my absolute favorite “she has a quiet, quick sense of humor.” (no joking, that really is my very favorite comment about her, because her wit is awesome.) and it seems that teachers fall firmly in the what’s not to love camp when it comes to my 16 year old. they said things like “especially appreciated his meaningful contributions to classroom discussions” and “he has a natural ability to perform” and then there was this… c16 “is a born philosopher. he has a genuine aptitude for philosophical discussion, understanding many advanced philosophical concepts and, moreover, seeing the weaknesses in arguments… he ought to be congratulated for his progress thus far.”
i know it was meant as high praise and that i should be able to take it as such, but it goes so against my personal belief system that it really just scares me. c16 is really a good kid, except for this one thing. he likes to debate. a lot. and by a lot i just mean a lot more than i do – which would be not at all. my belief when it comes to working out disagreements sort of aligns much more with the mom’s always right school of thinking. and i have no problem admitting that it would make me very happy if everyone living under my roof felt the same. but they don’t. especially c16. which i’m sure is pretty normal. he’s spreading his wings, asserting his independence, and all that stuff. whatever. doesn’t make me like it any more. and knowing that there is someone out there actually encouraging him to see the weakness in arguments just seems wrong. (especially when he’s determined that “because i said so” is the weakest argument ever.) it almost feels like that comment was meant as a personal attack against me. and if you’re wondering how i connected the dots between seeing the weakness in arguments and me being judged for my obvious poor parenting – i used one of those advanced philisophical concepts. i’m pretty sure it’s too advanced for c16 and his teacher combined.