Friday, August 26, 2016


For the most part, I am pretty laid back. Easygoing. Passive. (Or, to be more accurate, passive-aggressive.)

I don't like to inconvenience people. I prefer to make do with what's at hand, than to trouble someone to fix a less-than-desirable situation. Even where it concerns my kids...I don't want to be "that mom," the one who insists that what's good enough for everyone else is not good enough where her kids are concerned.

But that seems to be changing, slowly, at least a little bit, at least where my role as a mother is concerned.

The youngest chicken was registered for a dual-enrollment class at our local university. After the second class meeting, she came home looking like someone had let all the air out of her balloon. "Mom, I don't think this class is going to challenge me very much," she lamented. "I don't want to waste an entire semester doing mediocre work for a mediocre class."

I could have said (I thought it): A whole lot of life is mediocre, Sister. Excellence, I'm afraid, is not the norm. So, just put in your time, do the mediocre work required of you, and check that course requirement off your list.

Or, I could have said (I thought it): Jackie has gone above and beyond the call of duty to get you registered for this class. Whether the class is mediocre or not, I don't want to bother her again, to ask her if she could please adjust your schedule for the umpteenth time. (Jackie is our dual-enrollment liaison at the school, and SHE IS AWESOME.)

Or, I could have said (I thought it): The extraordinary teachers, their classes are already full. It would be rude - and a little arrogant, don't you think? - to ask someone at the university to open up just one more slot for you, because you want something better.

Or, I could have said (I thought it): What difference does it make how much you get out of this class? If you finish with a decent grade, isn't that what really matters?

But then I thought...

Yes, much about this life is mediocre. But why settle for mediocre when there is the possibility - maybe only the teensy-tiniest sliver of a possibility - that you can have excellence instead?

Yes, Jackie has knocked herself out for us, and I am tremendously grateful for all her help. And if I ask her to help us this one more time and she says "No," I am still tremendously grateful for all that she has done for us. So, why not ask?

Yes, it would be a little presumptuous to ask for another slot in a class that is already full. But (see preceding paragraph), why not ask?

No. No! I cannot say that it doesn't really matter what you get out of this class. No, a decent grade is not what's most important. If you, young chicken, are going to sit under the instruction of a teacher for three hours a week for an entire semester, if you are going to read assignments and write papers, if you are going to invest a significant part of this year of your life in the relationship you have with this teacher, then that matters a whole dang lot. And the fruit of that relationship will have consequences that will reverberate throughout your entire life.

I want my youngest chicken to do well in school. I also want her to be challenged, not just academically, but personally. I don't want her to settle for some mediocre performance to meet the minimum requirement to satisfy a college check list - I want her to absolutely fall in love with learning.

Life is too precious to just "make do" with what's at hand simply because Passive Mom thinks aiming for excellence requires too much effort and causes a little bit of personal discomfort.

And so, I made a phone call and I emailed Jackie and I realized...

I am that mom.

Honey, it's about time!

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