Tag Archives: sixth grade

My inner critic

Apparently sixth grade was a big year for me:

The year I learned about autism.

The year I did my first volunteering (outside of a church setting at least).

The year I wrote my very first report. (The report was about koalas. Oh, the irony as I write this from Down Under 23 years later.)

It was also the year that I got my first B.

I’ll never forget it.

Mrs. Smith handed me my report card and there, next to “science” was a B. A big, fat, dreaded B.

I was devastated and burst into tears.

Cry. me. a. river.

My 11-year-old logic: My family didn’t have much money. If I wanted to go to college, no doubt I’d need to get there on scholarship. And if I wanted a scholarship, no doubt I’d need to have a perfect school record. Perfect. Six grade included.

(Where does an 11-year-old get these ideas? Certainly not my parents for the record! They were thrilled with my B and never, ever pressured me about grades during my entire life. Not even once.)

But there I was, an 11-year-old with ruined college and career plans.

maybe I couldn’t become a child psychologist after all. (I wonder what a child pychologist would say about my ideas back then? Hmmm… another post for sure.)

I’ve since earned a few B’s, and when I got to college I actually got a C once. It was in math or science, of course.

But you know what? I don’t even remember what exact class that C was from… because it’s not important.

I’ve since learned that I will never be perfect. I will never have “straight As.” Not on my report card, and not in life.

Most of the time, I’m at peace with that; sometimes I still wrestle.

beginning this five-minute-a-day blog is an excercize in beating that inner perfectionist to death.

Do you know how hard it is to just write and not edit and then the world see all of my flaws and typos and scattered thoughts?

But it is working. It is helping.

And I am becoming more comfortable to just write. Write without reservations.

Thank you Mrs. Smith for helping me to see that a B is still really, really good. I’m sorry it took me a few years to figure it out.

Q for you: My inner critic is the perfectionist. What’s yours??

Love,
A

Click Clink Five is a blog by Adriel Booker. | Five minutes a day, unedited. | 2012 All rights reserved. | Adriel also writes on parenting and motherhood at The Mommyhood Memos.


Jonathan, the boy with autism

In the sixth grade my teachers took my class to the swimming pool on Fridays to work with the kids from the Alice Hatch Center.

The Alice Hatch Center was a preschool for kids with special needs.

I can’t remember any of the kids, or what kinds of “needs” they had… except for one:

Jonathan.

Jonathan was “my” boy.

He was three years old, slight for his age, with blonde hair and gray-blue eyes.

Jonathan had autism.

For whatever reason, Jonathan decided he liked me and trusted me.

I was the only one he’d swim with.

To say we were buddies was an understatement.

I loved that kid.

I’m pretty sure he loved me too.

I looked forward to seeing him each Friday afternoon.

That was when I decided I wanted to be a child psychologist and work with autistic kids.

I was eleven.

Obviously that dream didn’t stick with me for the long term. (It did for about 4-5 years though!)

I’m no child psychologist today, nor do I desire to be. But I always have had a special soft spot in my heart for kids with special needs.

They are so often misunderstood. Misunderstood and even feared.

I sometimes think about Jonathan today. He would be about 26 – all grown up. I dont even know his last name.

I wonder if he lives independently and what his life is like.

I sometimes miss him too.

What great teachers I had – Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Fox – who gave their sixth graders a chance to help kids in need, and a chance to be changed in the process.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What special person from your childhood do you miss?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five is a blog by Adriel Booker. | Five minutes a day, unedited. | 2012 All rights reserved. | Adriel also writes on parenting and motherhood at The Mommyhood Memos.