blogging, cell phone, childhood, detention, discipline, life, middle school, parenting, privacy rights, school rules, search and seizure, teachers, technology, teen intelligence, teen texts, teenagers, texting, texting in school, thoughts
My son says he’s in the “smart and funny” group at school. This means when they crack jokes in the cafeteria, they make one boy laugh so hard he vomits.
Which gets them lunch detention.
Equating barf with intelligence is possibly a red flag.
Eighth grade boys lack perspective.
How do I know this? Because hearing my kid speak is sometimes like listening to a panda play the piano. It qualifies as sound… but not much else.
The refinement and technique just aren’t there.
Only think we take them seriously.
They don’t realize they’re actually a sleepy, hungry and absentminded species destined to have mating problems.
Pandas seem to care very little about society’s expectations. Which brings me to the point of this post.
My son’s “smart and funny” friends? Also don’t care. They were caught texting in school.
One of them had his phone confiscated.
And the rest? Continued texting him.
Even though the Language Arts teacher had his phone.
Obviously, this caused some tension.
They now faced a complex chicken or egg conundrum: Who got them caught?
The kid who lost his phone?
Or the others who forgot it was on the teacher’s desk and kept texting?
Oy vey. It takes the wisdom of Solomon.
But it doesn’t end there…
The next week, the teacher decided to take preemptive action. She cruised the lunchroom and demanded students take out their phones. She checked the screens for recent messages. And she disciplined one of the “smart and funny” boys for having wallpaper made of swear words.
I’m not implying profanity is awesome. But we’re talking about fourteen-year-old boys… so I’m not surprised.
The boys went all George Carlin on that teacher’s a$$!
They told her they have the right to build obscene wallpaper because it’s protected free speech, for realz! They accused the teacher of unreasonable search and seizure. They argued that confiscating phones from the pockets of students who are following the rules is unconstitutional.
Then they also explained how airplane mode works.
All of which makes me think they are… in addition to being technologically savvy… definitely a bit smart and funny. At least occasionally.
And the teacher gave them props for having each other’s backs.
Also? They completely proved that compulsive texting doesn’t prevent bright kids from absorbing a few social studies facts.
It made me almost as happy and proud as that week in 2001 when my son finally went in the potty.
It’s like… for one, golden, fleeting moment… they became pandas who play the piano really well. Considering they’re still pandas. Like all at once they could plink out Chopsticks or Heart and Soul. And do it stylishly because they also just noticed they’re totally color-coordinated with the keys. That this is their moment of clarity. And that’s the shizz.
Now that I think about it, this post’s title is wrong. Teen Intelligence isn’t an oxymoron.
It’s more like two things that rarely go together… but are terrifically uplifting when they do. Sort of like Housetrained Puppy or Working Umbrella or Political Leader.
Please let me know if there’s a term for those kinds of word associations.
Because maybe our children will use their Teen Intelligence to one day change the world.
Or put the brakes on the NSA.