I really enjoyed visiting with all of the parents over the past two weeks at Parent’s Weekend. In most cases, their student was doing very well and growing academically. In a few cases, the student was struggling and not succeeding at our school. Regardless of student standings, I felt that we were able to solve problems and set new goals for the future. Why do students fail in school? I spent 30 years in the public school system. The majority of that time was spent working with students who were not successful in the school setting.
Many of them struggled with Asperger’s, Autism, NLD, ADD, ADHD, and many other types of disabilities both physical and mental. The school system is not equipped to properly help these students. Places like Maple Lake are safe havens for students with these types of issues. As an educational staff at Maple Lake, we are constantly training on the issues surrounding these disabilities and how to address them in the classroom.
I have often expressed my feelings about these students and their parents. One thing that strikes me deeply is the courage that both the students and their parents have. Many or most of these students have failed in school over the years; been bullied by their peers; misunderstood by their teachers and school counselors and administration; and in general left behind by the system. Their parents often stand by with a feeling of helplessness wondering what they can do to save their child. It takes great courage for students and parents to keep trying and staying in the fight by either making the public system work for them or by finding private schools such as Maple Lake that specialize in helping these students.
If they find the right private school, it means that the child will have to stay away from home for long periods of time so they can attend school and receive treatment. For the parents, it means watching your child live away from home for months at a time. During that time, your heart is always aching for their well-being and success. For parents, it also means juggling finances in a drastic way and finding the means to pay for their child’s school and treatment. All of these things take perseverance and a great deal of courage.
Above, is a Japanese proverb that translated into English says ” fall down seven times and stand up eight.” Rising up one more time than you fall is a great secrete to success.
I have attached a video of a very brave fish. I think that this fish teaches us all great lessons in living with adversity and making the most of what you have. I have a fish tank that I enjoy as a small hobby at my house. A while back, I bought several fish and brought them home.
The next day I discovered this fish swimming sideways and upside down and acting like he was on his last leg.a fish is acting in this manner it will die very soon. I watched this fish day after day fully expecting it to die the next day. It continued to live for several months. After a couple of months, I was so impressed that I took a short video of the fish. That fish lived several months after I took the video. Like I said, I took the video about two months into the fish being in my tank. So this fish lived at least four or five months. When he died, who is to say what he died from. He could have died from old age for all we know. What I do know is that he never gave up and fought to the last wiggle of his little fin.
I share this with you hoping that it will inspire you and give you a feeling of respect for effort in the faced of all odds. I will also be showing it to the students at some point and discussing with them many of the principles that I have discussed here. After watching that fish it is hard for me to feel sorry for myself at anytime. Again, I am grateful for the students and parents of Maple Lake who are teaching me lessons or resilience and courage everyday.