Twice recently, I've heard young boys refer to themselves as "stupid".
One was my friend's son, Devil Child W, who spent the night here a couple of weeks ago. He and Z-boy were doing something and DCW just couldn't quite get it. He looked up at me and said, "Miss Sayre... I'm just not smart." Five years old. Already feels like he's being left behind. Of course, DCW is smart. He's much like his father. It isn't always obvious, but he's watching and learning from everything. And occasionally he will STUN you with what he does know. He is also hanging out with much older kids and trying to keep up with them intellectually and physically. At best, he's two years younger than Z-boy. At worst, he's three years younger than his older sister. And incredibly, he is equal company for both. He just falls a little short sometimes.
The second was my cousin's son. He's entering puberty and having a bit of a rough go. She says all he wants to do is wear only underwear and act sullen. Oh, and play soccer. His grades aren't so hot and he actually has a remedial class, which makes him feel stupid. Thing is, he's not. He's in the remedial class because of his grades, which include homework. He does his homework, but he doesn't hand it in. So he gets counted off and it reflects in his grade. Now he's in a remedial class, bored out of his mind, not handing in his work and possibly flunking that class as well! His mother doesn't understand why he doesn't hand in his homework and he can't explain it.
So what gives? Boys have always been the stars of the classrooms (at least in my day). They're not as shy, they know their stuff. Girls could read and write, but boys could do math and THINK! Could it be that all the emphasis on empowering girls has had a backlash on boys? Do they feel they are not as special because they don't have the same attentions as the girls do?
Both of these kids are smart. Very smart. They even do their work. But they don't hand it in. What's up with that? And beccause they don't hand it in, the teachers don't see it. The grades suffer. And people think they are stupid. It's a vicious circle. How do you get smart people to do the smart thing?
I'm sure I will have more to say on this tomorrow. I have a conference with Z-boy's teacher in the morning and tonight discovered a couple of disturbing things while at a school workshop. I must mull things over a bit and talk to her tomorrow. More later.