"It was a day like any other, except it wasn't"
This is the first line of Colin's college application essay that he is working on. Today was the last day of a week-long college application workshop at his high school of which a well-written essay is a critical portion. I was on pick-up duty.
As Colin got settled in the passenger seat, he was eager to read to me, what he has written so far. After the first sentence he paused, waiting for my response. I asked what the topic was. The prompt he used had to do with how he developed as a leader in High School.
Overcoming ObstaclesEarlier this month, my husband took our son, a rising high school senior to a college talk at his school. Afterwards, my husband was chatting with my son's guidance counselor. Essays are an important part of the application process and the counselor thought our son should write about his challenges with sound issues. He asked permission to speak with our son about this.
We were concerned about how the subject would be approached as we did not want to cause any set backs. Colin has been clear upon coming back home, we were not to discuss his sound issues. We sent an email warning the counselor to proceed with caution We were prepared that our son, the master of deflection, would avoid this topic. However, I was intrigued with the possibility that he might be open to using this to his advantage. Colin has made such remarkable progress over the last three years, I yearn for some insights as to how this has happened; something I might be able to share with other parents of children with "Select Sound Sensitivities".
The Guidance Counselor assured us he would not mention anything specific that he would not have readily known about our son without us telling him. He would speak in the most general of terms.
Clearly This Was Not To BeUnfortunately this is not the break we had hoped for. It is clear Colin is going for a generic essay. One that will be unremarkable, unoriginal and will not reveal the mystery of how he has overcome a personal setback.
I was a bit disappointed but not surprised.
I offered my advice of avoiding superfluous verbiage. I went on to suggest that he could talk about being the youngest of three boys where everyone wanted to be the leader. Before I could continue, he cut me off.
He was indignant and angrily informed me that he was not going to write about family. He does not consider his brothers or his parents family and as far as he is concerned he has no family. I'd be lying if his words did not sting a little. I had hope we were further along the road to reconciliation. I immediately fell silent.
After a short while he began to read the first paragraph to me. While I still feel there needs to be a stronger opening sentence, the rest of what he had so far was not bad. It was just not the original story that needed to be told. One that would reveal the true Colin. A little transparency and honesty goes a long way.
When he was finished, I continued to be mute. Perhaps my angry silence and lack of response would send a message. One thing is clear, my son still holds a lot of resentment and is far from taking ownership of his issues.
We continue to be a Work-In-Progress!