Jan 06, 2014 0 Share

Two Steps Forward, One Step Backward


Happy New Year!

While in the past I’ve listed my goals for the coming year, my only resolution for 2014 is to find an appropriate post-secondary placement for my son.

Cameron was not accepted into the program we both had high hopes of his attending this fall. I knew it was a long shot, but my hopes were still high. And in my true parenting-by-emotion style, I was not very delicate when I gave Cameron the news. I found out quite by accident myself, through reading Cameron’s email. I have a perfectly legitimate reason for reading Cameron’s email: It was the week before Christmas, and I was trying to make my Christmas morning easier by setting up the Kindle Fire we were giving Cameron so that it would be ready to go out of the box. This entailed setting up an Amazon account in Cameron’s name. I went into his email to delete the “Welcome to Amazon” emails in order to keep the Kindle a surprise. When I opened the Inbox, in addition to the email from Amazon, I noticed two emails from “Admissions.” They were both opened. The one received most recently contained the bad news that he was not considered a good fit for the program. Reasons stated were “motivation” and “problem solving.” These reasons surprised me until I saw the second email from Admissions which had come a week earlier. This email asked Cameron to respond if he was still interested in the program. I mentioned both of the emails had been opened, right? And neither had been brought to my attention, nor had Cameron taken the initiative to respond himself.

Now in fairness to Cameron, his lack of response to the “are you still interested” email was not the reason he wasn’t admitted. Coincidentally, I had called the Program Director the day after Cameron had received the email—not knowing about the email inquiring as to his thoughts on attending—and expressed our continued interest. But that didn’t make me any less furious at Cameron for flat-out ignoring the emails. He clearly didn’t understand what the emails were, and instead of asking, he just chose to ignore them. So all sorts of thoughts start going through my head. Is he really ready for the type of program I think he needs? Have I overestimated his abilities? Will he be okay with the level of independence required to succeed in such programs?

I’m sure Cameron sensed something was wrong as soon as the school bus pulled onto our street that day. I really tried to consider the disappointment that Cameron would feel upon learning the news, really I did, but frustration trumps compassion, and I couldn’t contain myself. My “dissatisfaction” was obvious before Cameron had a chance to set down his book bag. Cameron was clearly disappointed by the news … Or was he disappointed by the way the news was delivered? Cameron seems to learn a lesson quickly when I borrow Mrs. Potato Head’s angry eyes, and I think this lesson hit home in record time.

After I’d had my opportunity to air my disappointment, I took a deep breath and tried to figure out what was going on in Cameron’s mind. In a calmer moment, I asked him how he felt about the news. His response was, “Well, I’m actually not too surprised. I didn’t do my best in the interview.”

Lessons learned: Cameron will try to do better in upcoming interviews. Cameron will attend to his emails, and ask about ones he doesn’t fully understand. I will take a deep breath before reacting, and begin the search anew. (Maybe I won’t put his email address on future applications. No … Where’s the sport in that?)