Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Numbers Never Lie

Earlier this summer, we received our children's standardized test scores, and I couldn't be more pleased! Numbers never lie, and I now have evidence that I've been right all along. Apparently, two of my children have no capacity whatsoever for "listening." These two precious children scored somewhere in the 40th percentile in the "listening" category. Math? Fine. Spelling? Got it. Reading? Ditto. Listening? What's that you say? Huh?

I don't give a flip about how my kids test in categories like "Environment," because that smacks of Al Gore and his stupid toilets, but I do value strong listening skills. I've been pushed almost to tears, crying out, "Nobody ever listens to me around here!" And now, thanks to the fine folks at SAT, I have the proof.

Sure, you might be saying to yourself, "In this age of competitive parenting, where every kid is off-the-chart brilliant, why in the world would you admit that something is sort of wrong with yours?" I will tell you that these computer printouts prove how special these kids are. They may qualify for some sort of government funding some day.

"See? They have a DISORDER," I will tell the resource administrator.

"No, ma'am, this does not actually qualify as a disorder," she will say. "They simply did not follow instructions. Or maybe they didn't pay attention to the teacher during this portion of the test."

"Well, then, wouldn't you consider that a little disorderly?"

Everyone can't be great in everything, and some things are more important than others. For example, one of these two non-listening children can draw fairies like you wouldn't believe, sometimes until almost 11 p.m. Each fairy has a name and a list of character traits--many you would expect to see in a fairy; others, not so much.

The other non-listening child used to say that she wanted to be a butterfly when she grows up. She is now 10. When she plays outside, she occasionally still wears butterfly wings and takes with her a bottle of Germ-X. We don't ask any questions.

Will these skills earn them high-paying jobs? College scholarships? Fame for their mother who has raised them? No, no, and probably not. That didn't stop me from telling them earlier this week how beautiful their fairies are and how butterflies sure work up a sweat in the August heat.

But they didn't listen. They never do.