Friday, October 27, 2006


I got a call at work last week...
"Mr. Renfro, this is Vice-Pricipal Hamm from Bell High School and I need to talk to you about your son, Lee.
I respond with...
"What are the charges"
He answers back with nervous laughter...
"No, there are no charges Mr. Renfro, not this time. I want you to know that in his Computer Graphics Class he is doing so well that the teacher says he can teach the class, he finishes every thing in 1/4 the time allotted and its done perfectly. We want to take him to Austin for an event but he doesn't seem to want to be recognized for this. Do you have any suggestions?"
I answer back...
"Well I will talk to the boy and try to explain that this talent he has can buy him a lot of Guitar Equipment and pay his way towards becoming the next great Rock & Roll star of our time."
I'm thinking to myself that Mr. Hamm has the degree in this, and certainly this is not his first time to see this behavior, this sudden shyness whEn accolades are finally coming his way.

The boy is talented in Computer Graphics and Design and draws some of the most intricately detailed little doodles by hand that you have ever seen. Some look as though they were a map of Gaea herself with all her gears and windings and cables exposed like a blueprint. He is also a pretty good little guitar player, and that is where his efforts all go.

So I go to Lee and tell him that it was real nice to get a phone call like that and that no matter how "Retarded" he thinks the class is, it is a talent that can be turned into "Rocks". (money)
This, he understands. Why he wants to cut up in class to the point of getting sent to the office weekly, I can't figure. Even I knew when to quit.

I am afraid he gets it from me and I have already alluded to how much my little sense of humor has cost me.
There was a cool post a few days ago by the Ol'Lady concerning her name. My son is named after my fathers middle name, Rippy and my middle name, Lee.
Lee Rippy Renfro.
I wanted to name him Rippy Lee, but his mother would not allow it. He will likely never forgive her for that, he may even get it changed some day.
We call him "Rip". Rip Renfro. He loves it. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Mother of Invention, you are a teacher. How do we get a boy that wants to be notorious for misdeeds to live up to his potential?


Mother of Invention said...

Actually, I haven't too many ideas. I deal with the little ones before much of an attitude takes shape. Ultimately, you or anybody else can't make him do anything. He has to come around himself in his own time. It comes with maturity and he may not bite at any of the usual bait now, especially if he decides to label it dorky and uncool.

He's obviously bright so most people might conclude he's bored in class since he's so far ahead of everyone else. Some might say, give him extra opportunities and responsibility like REALLY helping him teach the class or participate in demonstrations or whatever.

He could also be a peer tutor (for which he may even get paid money) or get some portion of a credit for. (We do that here) Then there's the old "extend his program" by giving him enrichment and higher level thinking activities.

If he doesn't have to do much work to ace it, he won't and he'll start goofing around. Challenge him and see what happens. There needs to be a hook somewhere...his "currency" that he'll work for and the teacher needs to find it or set him up with another teacher or older student (even if it's a local university kid), to spin all this off of and relate.

Those are all my thoughts! In Gr. 3, it's easier...they work harder for stickers and extra computer time!

GrizzBabe said...

Like mother of invention mentioned, I think he will come around on his own. Good kids usually do and I can tell he is a good kid.

Kilroy_60 said...

I maybe able to help out on this one. As one who was "known for his misdeeds". That's a surprise, isn't it?

My best advice is to give him the space he needs for his creativity, while maintaining your authority as a parent, and be sure he knows that you are interested and support him.

I have no children and don't expect anyone to act as I do or as I have. I think it's important, though, to do what you can for a child in terms of nurturing, but to understand that means being a parent...not trying to be a friend.

There are times it will be tough, having to crack down and discipline. If it's only words with no action behind it there will likely be more trouble than benefit.

Artistic people naturally have an inner fear and must be addressed...important to keep in mind. I think it's a difficult balance recognizing the increasing need for independence while requiring a level of parental control. Best of luck with this, Steve. He clearly has great potential.

Kilroy_60 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
steve said...

THANKS ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS.... i think that as you suggested MOI, they are having Lee direct the class in some fashion. Mr Hamm hopes as do we all that this may be a springboard for the boy and Lee has begun to respond more positively. He is so much like me Grizz, and like Kilroy too; He wants a little more excitement and adventure than MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) can give him without realizing what a truly slippery track that is.
Kilroy, I havent been the best example...and too many times I have been more the friend... but like I tell him "I do know some things." I look back on my father and wish that he had been more a friend and more able to talk very frankly to me... this is what Lee and I do enjoy. I think you would have been a good Pop, Kil. I will talk about lee more as soon as i finish Band Season... its the big week coming up...UIL State, BOA State and Grand nationals all within 8 days. Its all about my Daughter now.

GrizzBabe said...

I am so glad that you are having so much fun with your daughter. You will look back on this time with fondness.