May 29th, 1968
It was only inevitable that I would eventually end up in the principal’s office, but to my great joy and relief I have managed to use it to my advantage.
Everybody expects a child to enjoy the company of other children, so it was no surprise when the principal called me into his office and asked, “What’s wrong Cornelius? Aren’t you happy here at Jefferson Elementary? How come you’re always on your own? Do the other kids bully you? How come I never see you running around and playing? You’re always sitting one side by yourself.
“Furthermore, I’ve had complaints from all your teachers regarding your behavior in the class. They tell me you have trouble concentrating on their lessons and that you constantly daydream or doodle in the back of all your exercise books.
“And, although your class work is good, even above average, they tell me that you are antisocial with all the other children.” He paused for a moment before asking, “Do you know what antisocial means?” I nodded from the large deep armchair where I was seated in front of his desk. “Right, well they tell me that you become extremely angry and aggressive, almost to the point of violent, when any of the children play a simple prank on you.
“Also, Mrs. Plekker tells me that she has placed you in a desk in the front of her class, but that you constantly move to the back and have to be reminded to move.
“So, can you tell me what’s wrong? Is something troubling you? Is everything okay at home? Can you tell me what the problem is?” His tone had been calm, yet of genuine concern regarding one of his charges.
I was almost about to tell him how sorry I was, and that I would try to be a better student in the future, when I suddenly realized that a great opportunity had been placed before me that could significantly help to relieve my frustration.
Principal Hawkes had always been a man of thoughtful understanding and consideration when dealing with the students that studied at his educational facility.
His eyes widened greatly when I now calmly and quietly answered, “Well, frankly sir, it’s just that I find all the other children to be irritatingly…well…childish. To my constant dismay, I find their actions and conversations frustratingly annoying.”
He sat back and tapped the ends of his fingertips together. After a short deliberation he sat forward again and said, “What do you suppose I could do to make it better for you? I’d like to hear your suggestions?”
“Well, for starters, it would help greatly if you and everyone else stopped treating me as if there’s something wrong with me. There isn’t. Just because I don’t fit the generally accepted norm of how a child should behave, doesn’t mean that there is a problem. Don’t feel you need to change me to suit your concept of a normal healthy child just because I’m different. There’s nothing wrong with being different, so don’t try to force me into your idea of a conventional child’s mold.”
“O…kay, uh…anything else?”
“Yes, I have no interest in any of the physical, or should I say non-academic, activities that Jefferson has to offer. I enjoy activities that require something more…cerebrally stimulating.”
After another brief deliberation he returned with, “I’m going to help you, but first I need you to do something for me. I’m going to make arrangements for you to do an I.Q. test. I believe I know exactly what your…what the trouble is.”
Thanks to Principal Hawkes, I believe I may just have reached a wonderful turning point in this second life!