anyway, by way of background, suffice it to say that a year ago, the academic reports were dire. multiple class grades were on the verge of failure, and the student's expressions of deathly boredom and frustration were daily. don't get me wrong--i'm proud of the remarkable effort it took to salvage the year's grades to enable passing--and not least among the motivators was having a chance to apply to the voke the next year. (yeah, i played the parental passive/aggressive game--"if you don't pass, you can't qualify for the voke"). well, not only did it work, but let me tell you about the ride home from the halloween party this year and a few other things.
i don't know what you used to talk to your dad about being driven home from a saturday night party back in the day, but how excited you were about your classes in school was not something i would have expected to get into, myself. but there i was hearing about everything from the hot shit cool stuff they got into in the robotics shop, and why it was even better than the electronics and computer and engineering shops, (because you got all three and more all in one), to the earnest and eager resolve to ask the math teacher for extra projects, because it wasn't challenging enough as it is.
i know one thing about education, and that's that you only learn what you want to learn, and here's a kid who all of a sudden wants to learn it all. his academics are, right now, from his midterm progress report, all A's, and there's no reason to expect they'll ever dip from there throughout the rest of his academic career. my mom will, of course, grind her teeth and only half-swallow the bitter excuse that those courses couldn't possibly be as rigorous, and i only hope i'm not there to hear it, or hear of it, because i'm sitting on a powderkeg of love and pride for that child (who is now hardly one at all) to which not even feelings for my own mother could ever compare, and my response will hardly satisfy my god-squadding sister's constant admonitions to "honor". (where's the commandment to love all children unconditionally, and grandchildren too, for that matter, that's what i want to know).
i'm proud of being a voke parent, and my only regret is never having had the opportunity back in the day to consider it for myself. (i tried once to sign up for auto shop, which i still regret never attending to this day, and the guidance counsellor at double-you high school forbade it, arguing that such things were not for "college preparation".
a college degree is often the millstone around the neck of countless kids who are bearing the brunt of this "recovery" that comes complete without any jobs for so many of them. knowing what you love to do, and what you are good at, and then having the preparation to learn it so you can do it well, is the key to a productive and happy life--of this i am more certain today than i've ever been. i wish i were a musician. i wish i were an auto mechanic. i wish i were an electrical engineer. someday, maybe, if i'm lucky, i might become one of them, or two, or, dare i dream, three. but, until that day, i know i am going to be happy because i've seen that joy in the face of my child, and i know he is going to be OK.