5th Grade Adversity

Adversity reveals things. It teaches things. It also tests the patience and endurance of those employing adversity as the teacher of lessons. There is some adversity in our house right now. Granted, it is not the same kind of adversity felt by General Ewell who upon replacing Stonewall Jackson right before the Battle of Gettysburg, failed to take Culp’s Hill on the night of the first day. Or by Chuck Noll’s Steelers in the ’77 off-season when Mel Blount threatened to quit, Jack Lambert held out and Andy Russell retired. It is not even the adversity felt by the Dukes of Hazzard casting team in 1982 when they replaced Bo and Luke with Vance and Coy.

Its 5th grade adversity. And it is relentless.

Riley wants a phone. The only other person in her class without a phone finally got her’s this week. That makes her the island fortress of Corregidor of 5th graders and phones. She’s the last holdout. On the way to dance class…oh yeah, Mom decided to sign her up for some “technique” classes this summer. Super. Awesome. Result? Improved technique and another dance class to go to during a summer which was slated to be free of dance classes. Woo wee. I am super excited about this. Anyway, on the way to dance class she tells me, “Dad, even the girl who says all the bad words and mouths off to the teacher has a phone. Even the kid who lazes around and never turns in his homework has a phone.”

“Well, maybe they shouldn’t.”

“I behave. I do my homework. And I’m the one without a phone.”

“Well sometimes waiting for something is good. You don’t realize it at the time but if you have to wait for it, you’ll appreciate it more.”

Truth is that I kinda think a little adversity is a good thing. I mean we’re talking about a phone. We’re not forcing her to go to school to confront a roving band of bullies armed with nunchucks and bad attitudes. Its not like she’s driving in the demolition derby with Fonzie and Pinky Tuscadero desperately trying to avoid the dreaded Mallachi Crunch…

A little while of being the only kid without something will teach a little humility and further cement the fact that just because other kids have something doesn’t mean that you’ll get it too. There’s always going to be the kid with a new car. There’s always going to be the girl with the purse more expensive than a second home. There is always going to be kids who get the Atari 2600 before you…or maybe that was me…oh man, remember Missle Command? What the hell was Atari thinking making a game about intercontinental ballistic missle attacks in the middle of the Cold War?

Was the Atari 2600 the cell phone of 1980 back when I was finishing 5th grade? Was it a new bike? My Huffy Thunder Road probably wasn’t as cool as I thought it was.

Regardless, it’s not like we’re making her use cans and strings to talk to her friends. She has a freaking iTouch. It’s not like we’re a couple luddites who are fighting against technology. This is, after all, a blog. But I’m not on twitter. Because, well, I simply don’t give a crap what most people are thinking on an hourly basis. Unless its the negotiators in the NFL lockout. Although, if it only takes 140 characters for you to express yourself then you shouldn’t. But that’s just me…

But back to my point about waiting for things…

“Rye, when I was 16 I didn’t get my driver’s license right away.”

“Why not?”

“Because Grandma and Grandad were unfeeling tyrants who didn’t give a crap about my needs as a 16 year old boy.”


“No, I’m kidding. We lived in New York and were moving to Illinois about a month after my 16th birthday and I guess they thought it would be better if I just went through driver’s ed in Illinois.”

Truth is I have absolutely no recollection of why but I had to wait a full 4 months after I turned 16 to get my license. Plus I’m a Dad and make up half this crap anyway.

Anyway, big night tonight. Kinz has three friends coming over for a sleepover. Then next week its the last day of school and softball playoffs!


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Plus I’m a dad and make up half this crap anyway”

    Just half?

    You’ll find as kids get older you have to make up more than half. Take it from me, as I have a couple of teenagers.

  2. The warnings I keep getting from the parents of teenagers make me feel like Admiral Kimmel. You do all this groundwork but in the end, it just really doesn’t matter…

  3. I have two boys, one just graduated (HURRAY!) and the other will be a sophomore next year. Both of them got phones during their freshman year of high school. One at Christmas (the oldest, four years ago) and the other just June 4th (less than two weeks ago). I believe that unless there is a communication necessity–communication between parents and children–they don’t need a phone. Our boys got phones because they are on a sports team that often returned from out of town meets at unpredictable times. With my oldest gone, the youngest had to have one. Just to repeat what our parents said . . . “Just because everyone else does it, doesn’t mean you have to.” Good luck.

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