Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Best Darn Pencil Tapper

Right now, I have to say something that is just tugging on my heart.

It's awards time.

There are the awards ceremonies for the kids that have the best grades and have achieved amazing scholastic heights. And there are the kids who come home with the paper certificates that say things like "Best Door Greeter", or "Best Speller", "Most Cheerful", and so on.

There are times when I just think it's silly how many meaningless awards we give out, because we think everyone has to have one.

But now, as a Momma, there is an award I have to give. "Best Darn Pencil Tapper."

Because I have one. He is an amazing pencil tapper. He's got rhythym, and endurance (he can probably tap longer and harder than the honor students), and can drive an entire class nuts in record time.

Why does he deserve this award?

Watch out, this is where my heart is so full.

You see, this kid goes to school day after day and year after year putting on his "good face" when inside he is dying. No one else but his family gets to see that. None of his teachers have seen his absolute frustration knowing that no matter how hard he tries, no matter how much tutoring he goes to, he doesn't understand until about 2 months after the test, but by then he is already 6 or 7 other tests behind.

He gets the assignments in all his classes and his brain shuts down from overload. He thinks about all the assignments and realizes that it is like gathering feathers on a windy day. He will not be able to gather all that information from his brain, let alone compile it all into a brilliant paper with annotations.

After days of encouragement from his family he chooses one assignment, the one making a video, spends days on it, and turns it in late because he couldn't get it to export to the right place. And rather than ask for help, he silently, again, struggles knowing there was another thing he couldn't do right.

He looks at the other kids who put out papers as though Shakespeare lives in their back pockets, fly through the math like Einstein, and generally succeed at everything placed in front of them, and silently aches that that is not him.

Oh, he has gotten the paper certificates at times for being the best pencil sharpener, etc. but what I really wish is that his teachers could comprehend what is going on in his brain. How much he wants to succeed, and now after so many years of "school failures" doesn't believe it is possible, or shuts down completely after one failure, because really, why try anymore?

So for my son, and for all the other pencil tappers out there, I want to take a minute and honor you.

I applaud you for going anyway. For each and every day that you walk into those schools where no one really understands, way to go.

For trying over and over again, even if it is only because your mom or dad begged you to try again, because you love your parents you keep trying.

For not acting on the intense anger and frustration you feel about not being able to do it "right."

For being the nice kid, who really understands that there are other kids who also don't get it and you don't make fun of or belittle others or their ideas.

For being the class crack up, because without you some weeks, or months all that would happen would be the same old, boring, day to day stuff.

For being the kid who has a head full of miscellaneous ideas and info, because that is how you think and process in small, random bits.

For being the kid who has the wild and crazy ideas that make for fun videos, interesting science experiments and fun lunch times.

For being the kid who makes friends with everyone, because you know how it feels to be labeled, and looked down on.

There is so much to love about you and celebrate in you!

Your grades are really just a letter on a piece of paper. Yes, those letters can get you places, for a while, and I don't want you to give up on doing your best.

Those other parts of you, are the qualities you will carry into the rest of your life. When you are 40, no one will know or care what you got in High School English. But they will know if they can count on you to help in a crises, they will know if they can trust you with a burden they are carrying, they will know that if they fail, you will not see them as a failure.

Congratulations my pencil tapper!

You are the Best Darn Pencil Tapper I know!

I'm so proud of who you really are!

I love you!


  1. I absolutely love this, Cheryl. My heart aches for your son and for you, the Momma Bear you, whose heart endures with him every day. The first thought I had as I finished reading is that your son could easily be the next Einstein. He will get there. Right now he's building character to endure, which is one of life's biggest challenges.

  2. You are so kind, thank you! He's a great kid, with a lot of struggles. There are so many kids like him who struggle with school every day. It is so hard to maintain hope, day after day and semester after semester! Thanks for your comments! You made me smile!