The stubborn contrarian doesn’t fall far from the tree

We had our spring parent conference with the boy’s kindergarten teacher last week. The good news is that the boy is doing well academically. As I often tell him, he’s too smart for his own good.

On the citizenship front, he’s not quite the hotshot he is academically. He’s getting better at focusing on his work, but he still has too much of his parents in him to be the most conscientious pupil. Like his mom, he’s a social butterfly, getting lost in chit-chat when he should be working quietly. He is too much like his dad when it comes to being a stubborn contrarian who knows it’s enough to be right – they don’t have to know why you’re right.

Even with the burden of his chatty, mulish genetics, the teacher likes having him in her class, so we ended the conference feeling good. But the most enlightening things were yet to come.

Outside the classroom, the kids’ projects were on display. For St. Patrick’s Day, each child had cut out a pot of gold, with coins labeled as things that were more precious than gold to them. As we walked down the line of these, the recurring words were, Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, and the like. It was sweet to see how the children valued their families. At our boy’s pot of gold, we squinted to make out the names on the coins. Don, Mikce, Leo, R-something – who were these people? They weren’t family members. They weren’t even kids in his class.

The teacher was still with us. Noting our confusion, she explained. “That’s Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael. The Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

More precious than turtles?

It’s not that Mommy and Daddy aren’t precious; they’re just a little trite for this pot.

The way I’m going to spin this is that the boy doesn’t value cartoon turtles more than his parents; he just didn’t want to do the same thing all the other kids were doing. That’s plausible, isn’t it?

Next, we looked at a book called If I Were President. Each child did a page on which they wrote a phrase to complete the sentence, “If I were President, I would . . .” and drew an accompanying picture.

The book was full of compassion. “Help the world,” was the common theme, with variations toward “Make the whole world safe,” or “Help poor people.” The pictures were of the Earth or of a group of presumably poor people.

On my son’s page were drawn fighter jets and soldiers. It said the following: “If I were President, I would control the Air Force.”

My son (you may call him, Mr. President) is the big, blue guy. He is commanding the troops to put on their saucepans and scramble their brown jets to go save the world.

My son (you may call him Mr. President) is the big, blue guy. He is commanding the troops to put on their saucepans and scramble their brown jets to go save the world.

As I see it, he’s not limited by the naïve idealism of his classmates. If you want to protect the world, you need to formulate a specific plan for doing so, and that plan had better entail adequate air power.

This boy has as much compassion as any five-year-old, but he understands that caring goes a lot farther at Mach 3. I’m sure Don, Leo, and those other guys who are collectively my son’s favorite people would agree with me.

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28 comments on “The stubborn contrarian doesn’t fall far from the tree

  1. Ned's Blog says:

    I would vote for your son. And I wouldn’t wait until he’s 45.

  2. Traci says:

    A+ for originality and the fact that he knows his own opinion. As for the pot of gold, if you had your own reality show, or simply some kung fu skills, you might rise in estimation 🙂

  3. pieterk515 says:

    At least he can write…And he has an amazing sense of “confusing his parents” a.k.a humor!

  4. Maybe those are bitcoins in his pot of gold. I think ninja turtles might be on those. It also looks like your son is going to be buying x-wing fighters for the Air Force, that’s good thinking.

  5. Andrew says:

    That ninja turtles bit is hilarious. I’m sure I did similar things when I was little. Like I remember wishing Batman was my dad a few times. But after watching The Dark Knight, I definitely do not wish that.

  6. A. van Nerel says:

    I like your son’s thinking…it’s very pragmatic. It’s giving me a ‘Yes, we can!’ vibe!

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    Love it! I’m sure that next year Mom and Dad will show up in his pot of gold. I mean, you have a whole year to coach him, right?

  8. He would TOTALLY control the Air Force and I’m totally laughing at his individuality right now. I gotta admit though, for a second, I thought that maybe the Don was a nod to donofalltrades!! Dammit. You should name your son Don now because it’s a fond family name now.

  9. yearstricken says:

    I admire a boy with a mind of his own. Once he has an Air Force of his own, he will be a force to be reckoned with. 🙂

  10. […] results of the First Grade teacher conference were similar to the results of the Kindergarten conference. The boy is doing pretty well academically, especially in reading and writing. He’s okay in math, […]

  11. […] Click here for a flashback to the critique of Big Brother’s Kindergarten artwork. […]

  12. Gibber says:

    I wonder if the had thought of bacon, if that would have been on one of the gold coins if not all of them.

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