II. Right after I got back from my professional conference, there was another conference, of the parent-teacher variety, the first of the semester. We view these events with a great deal of trepidation. Typically we are told that our girl is too this or too that, or not enough this and not enough that. But this year was different. Because our girl is an eighth grader, she is invited to the conference. It's a parent-teacher-student conference.
Perhaps because she was there ("nothing about us without us") the conference took an entirely different turn. We learned that our girl scored highest of any student on their history exam and is the most sought-after study partner for history because her notes are the most complete. Everyone wants to study with our girl. And she's having no problem managing her anxiety from the bell or the passing period. The only thing they'd like to see her work on is talking with other kids at lunchtime (which she still doesn't do).
Instead of discussing our girl as a bundle of pathologies and deficiencies and sites for remediation, we were talking about her strengths. A conference that included her required that everyone present focus on her assets and progress. We had a hard time hailing a cab to get home because we were all floating about ten feet above street level.
Wall Street Occupation during October 29th snowstorm.
Photo: David Shankbone, CC license, use with attribution.
"You know," she said, "Some of them have gotten hypothermia."
"Really?" I asked, "How'd you know that?"
"Read it on the iPad news app."
"Yes," I said, "the police took away their heaters and generators."
"Why'd they do that?"
"Because they want them to leave."
"Why do they want them to leave?"
"Because the people in the government want them to go away, but other people want them to stay, so they brought them blankets and tents and warm clothes."
"It's a famiracle," she said with glee.
"What's a famiracle?
"It's a combination of something that's fantastic and a miracle."
"Where'd you hear that?"
"I made it up."
"Wow, that's great," I said.
"It could also be a wonmiracle."
"What's a wonmiracle?"
"Something wonderful and a miracle."
• • •
I have to pause to take in the developments of the last week:
- Thinking of others, and letting them know you're thinking of them.
- Academic achievement, and sharing your skills with others.
- Reading the news on your own, concern over the well-being of others, and word play.
This, from the girl whom we were told would not learn to read.
It is fantastic. It is wonderful. It is a famiracle. And a wonmiracle, too.
Wall Street Occupier during October 29th snowstorm.
Photo: David Shankbone, CC license, use with attribution