This year, one of Junior’s teachers told us that his grade in language arts has been suffering, even failing. Rest assured, he is working on improving his writing. For enough kids, that can be the case as well, and may simply be due to aptitude. For others like Junior, there may be various factors at play, which should also be taken into account.
For several years, Junior has been attending school just part-time. The reason for that is because he (and we) seem to benefit most from a combination of both homeschool and public school. It’s good for him because he can get the necessary individual attention on subjects at home, while it’s good for us to have other teachers teach him what we don’t want to. In addition, he can also take some elective courses along with his class on social and relational development. Plus, he’s a very social individual and loves to be around people.
As a result, he has developed a sort of love-hate relationship with other kids. He so much wants to be accepted and treated as their friend, but he ends up making more enemies in the process. One result of this was the day he was violently choked by a bully at school. He was playing a game with kids at recess when the school bully got hurt. Junior and another kid started laughing at him and so the bully started choking the other kid. However, when Junior didn’t stop laughing, the bully stopped with the first kid and started choking him!
One of the staff members at his elementary school considered him to be a “provocative victim” to which both my wife and I thought was a pretty accurate description that has stuck. In the name of fun, he persistently provokes others to the point of anger without being grossly offensive. Then he ends up suffering for it. He’s a concrete thinker and his personality is charming, yet…abrasive. At times I feel for the guy that he doesn’t even see how he’s offending people so much, but then I see him do it and I get irritated because he still persists in doing it. He’s not terribly malicious. However, he’s still guilty.
These behavior problems have plagued him for his entire short life from a grade school Bruin, now to a Jr. High Trojan. And now he’s ostracized and bullied still more. He worships fun and himself at the expense of everything else. I’m convinced that all this is related to his learning challenges as well and may affect him for years to come. Yes, he’s only in sixth grade now, but how do you teach someone to change their spots? May God help him.