I answered my phone earlier today to what I thought was a parent call. I have caller ID, I recognized her number. But it wasn’t her. It was her middle son, the one who dropped out last December and had several brushes with the law since.
He asked me how I was, I gave him an evasive answer but he knows how my classes are. He used to wreak havoc in them in his day! I asked him how he was and he said, “I’m good, I mean, I’m not, but I am.”
He laughed, “It’s hard living straight, Miss. I got bills and I’m barely paying them, but I’m paying them. My P.O. wants me to go back to school, I mean, I don’t have to, but I think it’d be a good idea. I heard about a program that I can do. When I’m done, I’ll have a diploma, but from another school. Then I want to go to a community college and transfer to a four year to get a degree in Horticulture.”
I laughed, “Wow, that’s great!” I told him, “If you do well at a community college then you shouldn’t have any trouble getting into a four-year school.”
We talked some more about his future plans to be a horticulturist in Colorado. He told me about his ex-girlfriend who changed his life, made him see outside of anything he’d experienced before. “Where she lives, people don’t say if you go to college, it’s when. I’ve never heard anything like that before. She changed me, Miss. We’re not together now, but we’re good. We still talk.”
I could tell he loved her, but wasn’t hung up on her and that he was totally aware that she was living on a different level than he could right now. After two and a half years of watching him self-destruct through self-medicating, dealing, and completely disregarding his educational opportunities, it did my heart good to listen to him talk about his future — actual specific, positive, and viable plans that he has for himself.
But the best part? Before he said goodbye he went on a minor rant about teachers. “They do so much for so little, Miss. I mean, they do everything, they mold young lives and make them adults and people are grateful, I’m grateful, but man, teachers don’t get paid enough. They don’t get paid near enough!”