A Day in My Life – Gifted and Talented Edition – January 22, 2023

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Today I’m winding down a bit, trying not to get too involved in anything. Some people I saw this morning at church were all hyped up about the Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals football game tonight. I don’t really follow football, but I do understand why this may be an emotional game for both teams, following the Damar Hamlin heart attack on the field in Cincinnati a few weeks ago (as I write this, the Bengals are ahead of the Bills 24-10 at the end of the third quarter, in case anyone’s interested).

I spent yesterday with about 1,000 of my “closest” Red Sox fan friends in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the annual Winter Weekend celebration. I hung around with my son, grandson and granddaughter at this event as well. My grandson will only attend the school district he’s in for one more week. He has been having difficulties in school, but perhaps not the kind people may expect. He should be in the gifted and talented program; he’s not being challenged, and, because of that, he’s been acting out in school. My son and daughter-in-law have tried to work with the school to develop a plan for him, but the school has given them a Catch-22-type approach: His behavior has to improve and then they’ll let him do advanced work. This is a 13-year-old who has always been ahead of his class, vis-a-vis reading (my son used to read law books to him when he was an infant to get him to go to sleep). He’s in the eighth grade and is reading at a college sophomore level. His teachers have insisted he stay on the same page as his peers.

Anyone who knows me knows I always stick up for teachers. I volunteer in two elementary schools, and I know what teachers endure, especially in an inner-city setting. However, one of the reasons my son and daughter-in-law purchased a home in this suburban location was because of the reputation of the school district. My son went through a similar situation, but the teachers in the Schenectady School District put his reading skills (what seems like 100 years ago now) to good use. They had him read to his fellow classmates who had no one to read to them at home.

My grandson also deals with bullies among a group of very wealthy peers who seem to have unlimited access to money, which my son and his family do not. They make fun of my grandson for not having the latest high fashion sneakers or baseball caps, for example. That’s the kind of status symbol important to those boys these days. I’d say their parents must think this way as well, since that’s what seems important to the boys.

My grandson will soon be enrolling in a school for gifted and talented students. It will be a big change because he will have to be bussed several towns away. Maybe this is the answer: a fresh start. But perhaps the bigger picture here is that the bullies are getting their way by driving a nerd out of their school, a child who’s a great athlete but who’s being bullied because he also strives to be a scientist.

Yesterday, at the Red Sox Winter Weekend, one of the players we met was Craig Breslow. He has a master’s degree in microbiology, which he had when he pitched for the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox. I asked him if he ever pursued his PhD, which he said he would when he retired from baseball. He said he didn’t, that he now works in the front office of the Chicago Cubs organization. He said he couldn’t face going back into the classroom to do that.

I hope my grandson gets a new start and realizes that academics and seeking knowledge goes back in the classroom with an eagerness to learn, just like his dad did, and that he faces his return to the classroom as a new beginning, a new horizon for him. I hope to recommend books to him written by RRBC writers. He can handle it.

20-Day Media Certificate

Somehow I made it to day 20 of this 30-day blog challenge. How did that ever happen? Congratulations to my fellow RRBC bloggers!

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