Dear Mom Who Values Her Opinion Too Much,
I’m glad you are confident enough to feel as if your opinion is important enough to be shared, but it’s not. Your opinion is something that was sent as an unsupportive message and made me realize how shallow of an individual you are. For you, I will pray for strength where you can learn what it means to truly support others. For you, I will pray where you can see what it means to celebrate in the success of others.
Last fall my son took the ACT. He is a good student who has always been self-motivated and highly driven. As parents, we do not put these pressures on him. While we want each of our children to do well in school, it is equally important to us that we are raising respectful and kind individuals. Last fall our son scored a 33 on his ACT. A 33! We were thrilled. We didn’t share his score. When his friends began sharing their scores, he shared his. They were happy for his score, as he was theirs.
My son wanted to retake the ACT. While I didn’t completely support this, I respected his decision. When he received his score last week, he sent me a text saying “I did it!” I didn’t know what he was referencing. Never did I imagine he was talking about the ACT, until I saw his next text showing he had received a 36. A 36! He was ecstatic, but immediately sent to “not tell others, because I don’t know yet how other people scored.” By the time school dismissed, I had received congratulatory messages from teachers and parents. Their own children had messaged them with excitement at his score. Then, I received your message…..”I hope this message comes across with love. I love every one of my children and I also love every one of my students. I think it is unfavorable to post or have a friend/relative post about a perfect score on an ACT. There are so many students who do not have parents that love them, protect them, educate them, promote them or even quite honestly provide proper shelter. We live in a world that is dark and backwards. I hope you understand my perspective on how such personal, standardized test score can lead to negativity. Some things should just be private.”
I didn’t post his score, as I was worried it might appear boastful to others. A girlfriend of mine however, shared the news on Facebook and you saw. In her post, there were endless positive comments, likes, and support. She was excited for him and wanted to share. I’m sure she never imagined anyone would be upset by her post. I then reflected on your message.
Personally, I love every one of my students and my own children too. I teach in a place where some students most likely don’t know what the ACT is. For some of my students, their biggest concern is where their next meal is coming from or if they will have a warm place at night. I love these students. I hug them every day and remind them how happy I am to see them. Honestly, some come to school because they can be fed and sheltered. School is an escape. How dare you think I don’t know what kind of students exist in our society.
Your words imply that we cannot openly celebrate triumphs. Does that mean when you shared your daughter’s regional championship trophy that you were being hypocritical? Your other daughter is a good runner and you’ve shared her victories. Is that being hypocritical? Why yes, yes it is. You share about your daughter’s academic team success. There are students who don’t know what an academic team is, and other students who will never have the opportunity to be part of one. In sharing your own children’s success on these teams, you are a hypocrite.
Here’s what I know about myself: I know my oldest son would have loved to have been on a basketball court or even better, a football field when he was in High School. He never was. He supported his classmates by being a manager for these teams. As parents, we went to support these teams. Never once did I feel animosity toward any of the players that my son wasn’t on the court or field. Never once have I NOT been excited to see a fabulous play, a parent posting about their child’s great game, or a student signing to play at college level. I celebrate the victories of these kids. This is the difference between the two of us. I know what it means to celebrate others and not live in jealousy. I know what it means to support others.
Your message was not appropriate. You didn’t send your message out of “love.” You sent your message because you don’t celebrate the victories of others. You sent your message because you are selfish.
So again, I will pray for you. I will ask my friends to pray for you. I will also say what so many people thought I would say and so many have said. Fuck You. Fuck you and your selfish opinion. Stop valuing your opinion so much and thinking others value it. Stop being a hypocrite. Start celebrating the success of others. Start seeing that while you were right when you said “our world is dark”, it is also an incredibly beautiful place, but only if you try to see the beauty.