Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Child's Heart is Mended

This continues yesterday's unfortunate event ...

This Morning
Husband and I went into school office to talk with Director. She was not there. Assistant says there is no availability today to meet. We explain our situation and indicate we must have a meeting today. Reluctantly we are given an afterschool appointment.

This Afternoon
We see Oldest Son briefly before our meeting and he indicates there has been a Misunderstanding. Really.

We sit down with Director. Director is an attractive, well-spoken and fairly dynamic woman who speaks 4 languages. She immediately explains to us:

(1) That a parent on the Parent Committee felt that native English speakers should be not be eligible to present the country information in English at The Expo (this parent was aware of Oldest Son's role.)

(2) The Teacher misunderstood and relayed to Oldest Son and whole class that it had to be a child born in Mexico (this goes to the definition of who is considered a Mexican Child - note Oldest Son along with 4 other children were eliminated by this definition - even those students who may have a Mexican heritage.)

(3) Director talked with Oldest Son today and gave him the option of presenting the information in Spanish and another child would present in English. Oldest Son enthusiastically agreed to be the Spanish-speaking Spokesperson for Germany (I suspect to the Director's surprise.)

So Husband and I agree this is a reasonable solution.


Husband and I believe that this “explanation” was quickly developed today when Director learned of our afternoon meeting. That is okay though. The fact that Director knew we would not just let this turn of events by without challenge spurred them to provide a workable solution.

Oldest Son is happy and will get a better educational experience by having to do it in Spanish. He already knows it in English but now he will have to practice and make sure he can do it all in Spanish. He is quite confident.

This has been an interesting study in Human Nature.

Bad Judgment. Jealousy. Bigotry.
At its best we had a Director and a Teacher severely mishandle a difficult situation. At its worst, we have Adults exhibiting jealousy and bigotry.

Hurt. Disappointment. Acceptance. Flexibility. Confidence.
Oldest Son was raw with hurt and disappointment. With obvious support from us, he quickly accepted his fate and was grateful that we were going to try to talk with Director. He then embraced an alternate approach with confidence.

Anger. Love.
Husband has been very angry. Notable because Husband is a very mild mannered man. I think the combination of his son being hurt and the underlying prejudice sent him over the tipping point. Husband’s love for Oldest Son triggered an intense protectiveness.

Me. Well I have been rather calm. I quickly saw the value of the numerous life lessons to be exploited. Adversity is an important part of life. As a parent, I am grateful for opportunities to build strength and character in my children. I knew this would not permanently damage Oldest Son’s life and he would be stronger as a result.

Note to My Fellow Bloggers Who Commented
Thank you so much. Truly. Your comments were supportive, helpful and provided me insight into how to both handle and view this situation. You really did make a difference. Your time and opinions are appreciated. It is a nice feeling to have this extended community to help handle unknown situations in Mexico.


Husband's Sister said...

I just read your posts for yesterday and today and feel so badly for Oldest Son. I agree that the whole situation smacks of a quick reaction to an influential parent and then another quick "fix" today. I wish I could be there to hear Oldest Son make his presentation en Espanol! You and Husband have done a great job of handling the situation, both with Oldest Son as well as with the school. Perhaps Oldest Son will also take away the lesson that sometimes discussion can result in an acceptable compromise.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Hurray for supportive parents!! Your kids are so lucky, can you adopt me?

Bob Mrotek said...

I don't know what kind of work you do but if you don't work for the Diplomatic Corps of the State Department I think you should consider it. Hillary would probably welcome someone like you with open arms :)

Nancy said...

I'm chiming in after the fact but I think you did just the right thing. If the school is going to admit students from other countries it needs to have policies in place that are fair and clearly defined.

I think in Mexico often the loudest person, pushiest person, or person with most social status gets their way (like I think Theresa said) because of the non confrontational culture.

Congratulations on navigating a challenging situation.

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Hats off to your son for agreeing to do it in Spanish! Whoo-hoo!!

CancunCanuck said...

I'm glad that you were able to find a resolution that made Oldest Son happy. I am still really ticked off for you, I don't think the explanation given was very reasonable, but you have found a way to make this work and to give OS an opportunity to shine anyway.

I wish OS all the best, I just know that he is going to be fantastic!

Dianne said...

I so feel for you. Our son, while only in Mazatlán now for one bimestre of school, has sure gone through the "misunderstandings." He loves it here, though; he loves his school, his friends, his teachers. But there are so many stories we can share of him being "inadvertently" excluded. A lot of it, honestly, I feel is due to school staff not planning (just not part of the culture here as it is where we come from), and also that considering how someone new and different might feel is not a "normal" behavior here. Probably isn't most places While in the heat of the moment I've perceived things to be intentionally or neglectfully cruel, I tend to agree with our son that things here in school (middle school in our case) are a whole lot more inclusive/less cliquish and bullying than NOB. Thank you for creating this terrific blog!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

HS - I think the whole family got truckload of lessons from this experience!

TM - Somedays are good parenting days and some not as much. I love the good ones!

BM - You are too kind. Actually I can be a bit abrupt, confrontational and impatient by true nature. Age, kids and Mexcio are working their magic though!

N- Thank opinions and thoughts, You are so on target. I am glad we decided to make ourselves heard.

C - Thanks for weighing in - I really respect reading your perspective as a teacher in Kinder3! Hope you are doing well in the good ole USA!

CC - You and Husband are in the same vibe! I agree that the explanation was created quickly but it all turned out better than we expected.

D - I can so relate to the "school staff not planning (just not part of the culture here" - we have just got to the point where we know we will not know everything and we miss stuff and try to take it in stride - present situation excluded of course!

Steve Cotton said...

AMM -- Sorry I missed this post. We all wish fewer problems for our children. But life will not deliver on that wish. The best we can do is hope to have wise mentors by our side. And your boys are extremely fortunate to have the two of you there to guide them.