Friday, May 3, 2013

Fun with Executive Leadership

Sitting in the bank representative’s cubicle, opening a new account, I answered the phone to my son’s panicked voice. My straight A, never been in trouble in his life son, panicked and rattling off his tale of woe. Prom being the next day and photo opps dancing around in my head, I didn’t really care what he did, no, he was not going to be suspended because that tux had already been rented, yes, I have my priorities straight. But when I heard his story, my mama-bear fury was unleashed, and I mean... for real.

I have never been impressed with his school’s principal, each and every time I’ve heard him speak it’s been a grammar-mangled, self-aggrandized, mind-numbing stream of who-knows-what. It seems students are allowed to submit school news blurbs to be read over the morning announcements, sports outcomes, upcoming events and the like. The previous day, this public school's baseball team played the exclusive local private school's team of which Principal X’s son is a player. Having played in different leagues over the years, the different school's teams all know one another and are friendly. My son wrote up a recap of the game {quite well written, I must say} which they had won and ended it with, “against a dominant offense, Dude X went hitless {Dude X being Principal's son}. The team had come up with this, but it was my boy who wrote it up and submitted it, and honestly, I think it’s funny. I have no doubt it was meant in good humor, a bit of harmless teasing. Principal X didn’t even hear the announcement, but a teacher thinking it so funny, told him about it and Principal X it turns out, not only has no grasp of grammar or pronunciation, he is thin-skinned, can’t take a joke and has anger issues.

He called my son into the main office and in front of everyone there, screamed, spit and pointed at him in the face for “20 minutes” which I would assume means 5-10 minutes, but none the less. My son had “humiliated both him and his family and his son was going to have to live with this for the rest of his life and he never wants to see his face again, no you can't speak, no you can not apologize”, seriously, he said that. “Don’t ever come into this office again”, you know... the main office where you sign in and out and see your guidance counselor and the nurse. What a horse’s ass.

Indeed he called me, and I was ready. I was awesome and most impressively, I stayed calm and coherent. I also understand that he had every right to find the joke unfunny, in which case you call the kid in, tell him so, let him apologize and move on, I assume that’s the type of conflict resolution we should be teaching our kids and yes, I shared this thought with him. He told me it would be a good long time before he let my son apologize, he’d be thinking about it, but he doubted he would accept any apology from him ever, yes, grown man talking, school principal, role model. He yelled at me and I saw the face of Buddha and sucked it up and explained that friendly teasing is often a sign of affection and respect and I can assure him that was the spirit in which it was intended, and he could have teased them right back, it would have been a “school spirit” moment. He tried to hang up on me at one point and the Buddha and I said “excuse me please, I’m not your student, I’m a parent and we need to finish this conversation.” I said, calmly and politely, after sucking it up some more and apologizing and feeling his pain, that I wanted to be sure there would be no negative repercussions stemming from this event, to which he screamed “that is the most condescending thing anyone has ever said to me.” I wanted to ask if that was really the word he was looking for, but went on to apologize some more and he assured me that he dedicates his heart, soul and lifesblood to the success of these kids and of course there would be no repercussions.

Now the word that comes to mind is hypocrite, because he had already called in the baseball coach and tried to get him kicked off the team, but they settled on a one-game suspension, no biggie. But after my call, that was rescinded and he tracked down my son and said “I accept your apology and can you give your mother a courtesy call.” My son stomped off, he's got things to learn too.

That’s right, I’m a bad ass mama and no one yells at my kid but me, and the prom pictures were fabulous!

But this is a cancer blog you're thinking, what does this have to do with cancer? Lots, because cancer patients become warriors, we live in the moment, we're not gonna miss prom night, we don't know what other milestones we may miss, so don't fuck with us, our kids or our cameras.

1 comment:

  1. i want that buddha stuff ... i have 2 more years with this crowd of bad teachers(the ones my kid has had) and dare i say principal X. i have on several occasions been reduced to tears in public. i will keep buddha in my heart for future dealings with these poorly placed 'professionals'. i am thoroughly glad for a positive lesson ... again. xow.