He hates school.

Chester Plummer, Central High School's All-Star English Teacher.
Chester Plummer, Central High School’s All-Star English Teacher.

My son was the epitome of grumpy a morning or two ago. It’s not that he’s not a morning person – he has a preconceived notion that school sucks, and that sets him off. When I inquire, he pauses, collects his thoughts, and then insists that his teachers and classmates are morons. Although he’s probably quite accurate, I realize that as a parent, I cannot agree with him without creating irreversible damage to his psyche. I too, like many of us, probably thought the same thing back in the day. This theory has extended into my adult life – my bosses and coworkers are indeed morons. However, my wisdom wasn’t quite as keen when I was young.

“English,” which wasn’t really the study of English but the study of literature, was my least favorite class. Hours of doldrums and boredom consumed several hours of my high school education. Looking back at the most memorable of my teachers, I can clearly remember the flamboyance of one Chester Plummer who taught at Philadelphia’s Central High School in the 1980s. His quotes of lauded literature continue to echo in my mind more than thirty years later. “Nothing gold can stay” was his favorite. In an era in which I firmly believed studying any sort of literature was a complete waste of time and effort, the ideas brought about from the study of these works and authors have become a pivotal part of my conscience. Studying literature isn’t critically important, but it does certainly help you become more relevant, thoughtful, and ultimately, a better communicator.

Mr. Plummer, I was wrong, and you were right. I apologize for all the negative vibes I emitted during your class, and I thank you for the gift of knowledge you imparted upon my mind that will last a lifetime.

I decided to skip school for an hour or two on that morning, as my son and I visited to the local donut hangout to have a chat. I told my son about this experience, explaining how Mr. Plummer’s words seemed like a waste of time at the time, yet helped me to become a moderately successful published author. Sure, our school curriculum is largely a disaster, but there are tidbits of information that will resonate eternally and may help him to become a better person in an ethical or capitalist scenario. I asked him to give it a chance, and be a bit more open-minded when it comes to dealing with his moronic counterparts, because studying them now will give him a considerable competitive edge later. He seemed to be in a better mood as we pulled into the school parking lot very late. Hopefully, his attitude will improve until our next chat.

In the meantime, please support my moderate success and buy my parenting book here:


How to get rid of your children when they’re not cute anymore.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saw this post on Facebook the other day:

HOST FAMILY NEEDED for a 15 year old girl from Germany already enrolled in high school. Original host family has health emergency and can’t host her. Per the local coordinator “The students come fully insured with their own spending money on personal stuff and school supplies through their monthly allowance from the natural parents. Host Families accept a student into their home as a ‘host son or daughter’, provide a bed, meals and necessary transportation and offer an opportunity for a young person to learn about America and enjoy a lifelong relationship.”

And, well, you know me by now, I began to think about the whole exchange student thing as related to being a RESPONSIBLE #$%&** PARENT. What sane parent sends a 15 year-old girl to live in some stranger’s house in a foreign country? Yeah, I know. You uber-liberal freaks will defend the action as “cultural exposure” or some other retarded term you pulled out of one of Kristin van Ogtrop’s ridiculous publications.

First of all, let’s talk about culture. In Germany, you can legally order a beer or wine at 16 years old. However, you’ll need to hold up on the whiskey until you’re 18. Fortunately, they’ve wised up on the ills caused by smoking and raised that age to 18. Here’s where things get weird – the age of consent for sexual relations in Germany is technically 14. Yes, that’s FOURTEEN, folks. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, I’m stating that German culture is vastly different than American culture. This girl is going to get here and may expect to drink and party like a German rockstar in America, and our laws won’t let that happen. That may lead to disappointment and depression, and countless other problems.

Secondly, let’s talk about her parents. What the hell are you thinking? Fifteen is a crucial age in the development of a minor. She’s beginning the transition from an adolescent into an adult, critical years in molding her mind into becoming a responsible adult. And her parents are going to trust that with some stranger? Sure, there is some background checking into the host families, but how much can you really know about the folks who will pretty much set the stage for your child’s transition into adulthood? This is incredibly and unforgivingly irresponsible.

Finally, well, let’s look at her parents again, but in a different light. WHY are they sending their baby, their pride and joy, their princess away for a year or more under the guise of becoming “worldly?” What’s the real motive here? Either her parents are dead, dumb as rocks, or this 15 year-old is a bitch from hell that is being pawned off on some unsuspecting family.

I’ll tell you who sends children away — one-percenters and faux-moms who no longer get compliments on their children. To them, their kids are baggage. An obligation. Material objects that are easily parted with. This is wrong. You’re supposed to love and cherish your children, and your entire family for that matter. People who send their children away shouldn’t be allowed to have children.