I’m very careful about what I write these days. (also, you might be thinking, “Nicole, you never write anything these days.” Fair enough.) I have to be; the boys are getting older, and I would never write about something that would be embarrassing to them. So I’m wording this carefully, but as this blog is our scrapbook and this has become a huge part of Bennett’s life, I decided to record this.
By the end of last school year, I know I mentioned on the blog that Bennett had started getting in just a little bit of trouble at school. Totally, totally minor…really, it was just him making some bad choices in the presence of certain friends. And it was right at the end of the year, so we discussed it some early in the summer. Like how he might need to make some new friends, or really be aware of the choices he makes when around others, or else he may find himself in trouble.
Over the summer he also developed a bit of a negative attitude toward school. This is a first for any of my kids, really, and it was unexpected. However, it boiled down to this: he just wants to be a baseball player.
So really, in his mind, he doesn’t need to be that educated. Like, he even came up with this gem this summer, completely on his own: “I want to go to a college that has a great baseball team and is just like, ok at academics. So it’s not too hard, and I can mostly focus on playing ball.”
Ohmygosh. Stop it. You’re nine.
We talked a few different times over the summer about school. How important it is. How to choose (and behave around) friends. Of course, I tried to figure out what was causing this issue, and nothing bad happened to the best of my knowledge. What I do know is that Bennett is bright, a good student, much more confident in his math skills than reading (though he reads above grade level, he isn’t very sure of himself), and a middle child.
Yep, I think him being a middle is playing into this, too. He’s only 2 years behind Luke, so most teachers know him or have taught him by the time B gets them. And Luke is the kind of kid who volunteers for a lot of stuff, and he’s easygoing, and everyone in the school knew him, etc. Luke’s far from perfect, but you get the point…Bennett is second, and he’s a totally different kind of kid.
Then there’s Jack Henry, whose reading level is crazy-high for his age (which slays me, because as a toddler, I thought he was going to have some delays), and couple that with Bennett’s lack of confidence in his reading and comprehension skills, and you’ve got B feeling that middle-child pinch.
I made the following points, as lightheartedly as possible, but in a way that I hope got my point across:
1. If you want to be a pro baseball player, you first need to be a high school baseball player, then a college baseball player (I know that kids get drafted without playing college ball, and so does B, but he knows it’s rare), and then the draft/minors/MLB.
2. If you have to, view 4th grade as a step towards achieving your first big goal: high school baseball player. (This makes me roll my eyes, but I was grasping at straws to engage this child.)
3. My main point: no coach, at any point in this timeline, wants a dumb athlete. They want you to be able to critically think through plays. Plus, there’s the whole staying-eligible-to-play-based-on-your-grades thing.
Before school started, I got a chance to meet B’s teacher, who is new to our elementary school (ie hasn’t taught Luke) but isn’t a new teacher (and she has twin 7th grade boys!). I mentioned to her that Bennett’s attitude toward school had soured just a bit, and that he really wanted to be an athlete. Her immediate comment was, “Well, he will need to be able to read his contract, right?” I think this is going to be a good match.
School started 3 days ago, and Bennett has come home every day smiling and saying that things have been going well. So we’re off to a good start.
Only 175 days+/- to go.