Irreverent Mama

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We threw a surprise party for Daniel's eighteenth birthday last week.

Daniel is in the 'gifted' stream at his high school, as are his friends, with only one exception. When I was offered the option of having Daniel apply to gifted, I was only partially convinced of the merits of the programme, but decided he'd enjoy the extra intellectual stimulation. He's academically lazy (sigh), but he's very bright.

What I didn't understand at first was just how grouping these bright kids together would change the social dynamic of high school for him.

These kids? They are so accepting of so many idiosyncracies. They shriek and yell and indulge in brainless mayhem, as all teens do, but they also converse. They think, and, more important, they don't have to hide this from their friends.

Here are some snippets:

(No, I didn't stay and party with the children. I figure that puts me in one of two camps: the pathetic forty-something trying desperately to be cool and with it, or the parent who trusts her children so little she can't afford to leave them alone for a second. I was around for the first hour, while guests arrived and before Daniel showed up, and then for the last hour, to ensure they left on schedule. A reasonable compromise, I figure.)

So, the snippets:

One of the girls came wearing a tutu skirt and carrying a magic wand. No one gave it a second's thought. ("Julia's in drama. They all do stuff like that.")

Discussing a scene in the cafeteria earlier in the week:
"She just uses indignation to get her way."
"Yeah. Pre-emptive outrage."
"Well, more like proactive outrage, because she's manipulating the outcome by going all hysterical."


Twenty minutes of computer talk which went completely over my head. They weren't talking about computer games, but about motherboards and processors and various other inner workings of the machines. (Daniel's long-time friend who isn't in the programme sits on the end of the couch with his girlfriend. "Do you know what they're talking about?" she asks him. "Nah." he says with his easy-going grin. "You get used to it.")


"Have you finished your presentation for [science teacher]?"
"I thought I was done, but then I found out about some research they're doing at McGill that takes it in a whole new direction, and he's given me an extension so I can try to contact the research team."

"Ian! Hey, Ian, I didn't know you'd be coming!"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"Hey, man, you know you don't come to half these things."
"Nothing wrong with being anti-social."
"He's a misanthrope."
"Misanthropy rules, dude!"


[Catch this? Words of more than two syllables - and they ALL know what they mean.]

One girl, who's in a theatre troup that gives sex and sexuality presentations in junior and senior high schools, was telling the group how a certain principal had not allowed them to present part of their show. "It was 'too mature a subject' for his students."

"How old were the students?" I asked.
"Grade nine."
Someone else wanted to know which part had been prohibited. She suggested they guess.

"Abortion?"
nope.
"Homosexuality?"
nope
"Sexual assault?"
nope

Ummm... so what was it?

"Masturbation."

"WHAT?" One boy shouts out. "The one aspect of the whole presentation that they have the most experience with??"

General roar of laughter.

[So sensible. No tittering, no squeamishness, but not prurience, either. Such a great bunch.]



And the movie they chose to watch? Monty Python's Holy Grail. Heh. In other circles, they'd be the geeks and the outcasts. Here, 'geek' is normal -- "normal" is boring.

I love these kids.

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4 Comments:

  • My favourite all-time film!

    By Blogger john.g., at 11:00 AM  

  • My brother had a group like that in high school. Me, not so much, and we were only one year apart!

    Seems that there just WASN'T that kind of group in my grade, sigh.

    What a cool kid you have.

    By Blogger Alli, at 1:00 PM  

  • Yes, I remember being on the Problem Solving Team: a group that competed against other schools in competitions that were judged by all participants. We were geeks, no question, and we were an all-accepting bunch.

    The trick is: How do I make sure my kids will be all-accepting?

    By Blogger Denguy, at 3:59 PM  

  • John - The kids have good taste, huh?

    Alli - There wasn't a group like that in my grade, either. Yeah, he is cool.

    Denguy - I don't think a parent can ever "make sure" of anything with a child. You can do your damndest, and they'll be who they are, anyway. (Which isn't all bad!)

    The best thing you can do is to be a good example of it, yourself, I think.

    By Blogger irreverentmama, at 10:22 AM  

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