Let me tell you about the World 4 Realz.
It’s not the way everyone else tries to sell it to me. Everyone has it all wrong. In the World 4 Realz, we don’t actually have to put up with nonsense and stupidity and racism and rudeness and complacency. In the World 4 Realz we can fight these things. In the World 4 Realz we can quit it or walk away or fix it or get help for it or say STOP or NO MORE. In the World 4 Realz we aren’t stuck with a broken status quo.
Most people don’t know this.
That’s why I write. That’s why I blog. That’s why I hit publish. That’s why I risk family and friends. Because I live in the World 4 Realz, and I’m not having shit in my life anymore, ever again, whatever the consequences. I love it here in the World 4 Realz.
When my son was being hazed for his skin color at school, several family members, along with members of the school board, told me, “He’ll have to get used to that sort of thing in the real world.”
My response was this:
“In the World 4 Realz, he doesn’t have to put up with that at all. In the World 4 Realz he can sue an organization which allows for such atrocity. In the World 4 Realz he can go on national television or shout to the world through newspapers and online media outlets that this problem is happening. In the World 4 Realz he can let everyone know what’s being allowed to happen right here in small town USA. In the World 4 Realz he can bring down this simple village that lies in the cornfields of America. Don’t tell me about what he’ll need to put up with in the World 4 Realz because you obviously don’t live there.”
The conversation pretty much ended at that point.
The hazing stopped soon thereafter, but my anger didn’t diminish. It shouldn’t have to be this way. I shouldn’t have to explain the World 4 Realz to grown men and women.
I’m worried for my little girl that she’s going to face something similar.
Not because of her skin color — since she has grown up with these kids, she will already “fit in”, so by the time her counterparts figure out she isn’t just like them, it’ll be too late since they’ll already be BFFs or whatever.
I think her face-off will be different than my son’s.
I worry that she will have to fight the intellectual battle to which my husband and I both fell prey. She just completed first grade, and is doing review work over the summer via a grade-appropriate workbook. The review falls far beneath her capabilities, but she’s having fun with it for now and it keeps her busy while at the same time feeding her ego of capability.
She is also working her way through the young children’s novel Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH — which is considered third grade material. The story line is riveting and she loves the characters. The sentence structure is more difficult than she is used to, but this is a good thing, because she needs challenge. The vocabulary, too, has proven rough, but she underlines words she doesn’t know or understand with a pencil, and then uses her dictionary to look up definitions.
Yes, that’s right, she uses a DICTIONARY.
She told me that none of the kids in her class were able to use a dictionary, which doesn’t surprise me since she was among only four who could actually READ. These four students were pulled from class for “intervention”, which is what we are apparently calling “advanced” or “gifted” or “kids with parents who give a shit and work with them at home”.
Most ironic fact about this silly title?
Every student leaves the classroom at some point for “intervention” of some nature… because ALL the children either need pushing or pulling of some nature. I’m really glad that we’ve implemented the No Child Left Behind program so smoothly into our schools… but we forgot that if no child is left behind, likewise no child may move ahead. Thus, the tag “Intervention” instead of “Working Well Above Her Level”.
So here is what I was really railing about on the porch this evening.
I’m anticipating what the new school year will bring this fall. I see group work ahead of us. Isn’t second grade when these kinds of projects are introduced?
What I imagine is a scenario in which she is the brains of the operation, doing all the work, and other kids getting good grades due to her efforts. Or her getting a bad grade because other kids in her group failed to complete their portions of the project.
And I see me going ballistic, marching into the school and demanding the grades be adjusted to reflect each individual child’s efforts. And I see a young, newly indoctrinated teacher trying to explain how this would work IN THE REAL WORLD.
“In the World 4 Realz, if she is in a group that isn’t working out, she can report to a supervisor and request assistance. And in the World 4 Realz, if the situation isn’t resolved appropriately, she can seek higher authority. And in the World 4 Realz, she can quit that job and go work somewhere else, even if it’s only making sandwiches.
Since we live in the World 4 Realz, are you suggesting that I have her quit this job? Are you suggesting I pull her out of school and send her to a different district? Are you suggesting I Home School her, which is what I’d love to do anyway? Or are you suggesting, since this is the World 4 Realz, that we finally admit that THIS ISN’T WORKING and fucking do something to fix the problem?”
My hubz had this kind of frightened look on his face.
“Why are you getting worked up over something that hasn’t even happened yet?”
“Because I can SEE it happening, and I am preemptively pissed.”
Right then, I threw my arms up into the air, ready to go off some more about life in the World 4 Realz… when a shooting star flew by. I shit you not. And it sucked all the anger right out of me. Because I remembered in that moment, I live in the World 4 Realz, but it’s a BIG world, and there is so much more… so very, very, very much more.
I remembered reading a book with my daughter earlier that day about the stars, and because of that, I was able to spot the Big Dipper, and I recalled that it pointed toward the North Star, so I was able to find that, too. That whole gigantic sky, and I happened to look up just as the heavens winked at me. It was kind of like the universe acknowledged my frustration, patted me on the head, and said, “Relax, we’ve got this covered. Go enjoy your time in the World 4 Realz.”
I’m not normally so nostalgic. But just this one time, I listened. I hugged my husband and let him show me more of the stars. Then we came back into the house, reminded our baby-kins how much we love her, and how proud we are of her reading, and how much fun she is going to have in second grade.
The World 4 Realz doesn’t always have to be on a soap box. Sometimes, the World 4 Realz will run itself, without any help from me.