I don't try to convince him he doesn't. I couldn't. Instead I tell him that he could switch to an alternative school and probably be done this summer. He doesn't want to do that.
"But I want to play football," he says. Indeed, this son's reason for going to school, probably close to #1 on his list of reasons for being, is football.
"Well then," I say, "you have to go to school. And you have to do something while you are there."
He clasps his strongly chiseled arms behind his back. Emits a sigh so deep that it seems to come from the depth of his toes. Is silent for a minute.
"All right," he promises. "I will. I promise I will."
This isn't the first conversation my son and I have had about school. And I know it won't be the last. This son is not a school kind of kid. He is not a sit-still kind of kid. He is not a listen to someone else talk and write it down and memorize it. He is not a test taker.
This son is a hands-on, gotta move, gotta do, kind of learner. He is a scholar of football, who spends hours and hours and hours studying his film and perfecting his craft. He is a talented artist who never misses his first period ceramics class, where he creates detailed and colorful pots. and sculptures. He spends much of his at home time in his bedroom, composing music on Garage Band. He watches the History Channel.
This son is a sweet, sweet guy. He pays attention to people's feelings, cares when the people around him are sad. He is not super communicative, but every few months, he writes me a note to explain a situation or apologize for something, these letters are often multiple pages. He is sweet and gentle with little kids, and with old people. He is a loyal, protective older brother, who would NEVER and I mean NEVER let anything happen to his sibling.
He chose his high school. Has lots of friends. Doesn't want to go to an alternative school or vo-tech or anywhere else.
And yet every morning, I wake him up. And send him to a place he hates. A place where he really doesn't fit. Where he constantly works from areas of weakness.
And I wonder, does it really have to be this way?