July 12, 2000

It's Not Easy Being a Genius

Younger Son got his grades today. He always does very well - he's bright and he works hard.

This set of marks came in from the Province of Quebec. Starting in grade 10 (usually) some final exams are standardized by the Province. They give you a mark and in some cases a centile (percentage of students who took the exam scoring lower than you.)

I happened to pick the kids up partway home from work, and in the car YS was asking me about his centiles. I couldn't remember all of them and which subject they corresponded to (I know, bad mother) but I did remember he had more than one 97. (I'm so proud, I'm glowing, yes. I have to keep reminding myself, and him, that there's more to life than brains.)

Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised.. but I was, when he started to complain about the 97 centile.

"Ninety-seven???? That means out of 100 people, three did better than me."
"Who are these people? I have to find them."
"I'm used to doing well, I'm used to SUCCESS at everything I do!"

(At this, both Older Son, who was at best an average student, and I began gagging.)

YS calmed down somewhat when he saw that the 97 was in science, not math. Apparently that's acceptable to His Majesty. There WAS no centile in math, so I told him there probably wasn't room on the form for "100". He bought that.

I like to take some credit for many of my kids' good qualities but I have to admit that Younger Son is completely self-driven, and always was. One day when he was around five, he decided he needed to learn how to draw a star. I showed him, and he sat and practiced until he got it right, way beyond what I'd have expected of his attention span.

Having more than one child is an educaton for the parents.. presumably we bring them up in a similar fashion but they develop so differently. I always had to try to light a fire under Older Son, and often tried to do the opposite with YS -- that is, give him a bit of perspective and show him that school and brains were not his entire life. I think he knows that by now.

If you're sick of the cow/moose parade, skip this section..

I've become aware that both Calgary and Edmonton Alberta are mounting cow projects this summer. Calgary's is already in progress (accompanied by the usual vandalism) while Edmonton's, due to start this month, hasn't yet been glimpsed by my spy in Alberta.

Said spy did however, point me towards this commentary in the New York Times, which is well worth a look. You might have to "register" a username and password but it's fairly painless, and the NY Times is an online paper you're bound to want to check out occasionally anyway.

Linque Du Jour:   An Atlas of Cyberspaces

Maps and graphic representations of various aspects of the internet. It ranges from the recognizably geographic to the artistic interpretations of authors and filmmakers. I like the "Historical" section, showing how arpanet, the internet's forerunner, began and developed.

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