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A Little Shocked By SS12

CastleJJ's picture

DH FaceTimed with SS12 tonight for our usual twice weekly call. SS is in the middle of state standardized testing in school and told DH he just wrapped up English last week. DH asked SS what the English portion entailed. SS explained that there was reading, comprehension, and a writing prompt about whether class participation should count toward a student' grade. DH asked SS where he stood on that topic. SS said he felt it shouldn't and outlined his reasons. DH played devil's advocate and explained that students who struggle in school may need that small grade to help them in classes they struggle with and it also may help keep them engaged. SS turns to DH and says "It's up to students whether they choose to do well in school or not. If you want to pay attention and do well, you can be an engineer. If you don't, you can be a burger flipper at McDonalds. The choice is theirs." To say my jaw hit the floor is an understatement. DH and I are the total opposite of everything about that comment.

SS12 has always been academically advanced, like BM. He is in 8th grade math, while in 6th grade. He has never scored below a 98% in any class, with little to no effort. BM has always praised his intelligence and preached a "superior than others" attitude when it comes to academics. Yet her and SS alike have no common sense. Ironically, BM had SS diagnosed with ADHD (with nothing other than a doctor's note) when SS was 6 because he didn't qualify for the gifted program. DH knew from the day BM told him that it was utter bullshit; BM just wanted an excuse to tell friends and family why SS wasn't labeled as "gifted." Well, SS has been unmedicated "ADHD" for 6 years now and guess what, miraculously, has no symptoms and it doesn't impact him in the slightest. It's a god damn miracle (eyeroll). 

I wanted so bad to interject and be like "Well SS, for the kids who have ADHD and other learning disabilities, school can be incredibly hard for them, no matter how much they participate in class, study, or pay attention." I refrained, knowing that SS would rebutt "I never had a problem with that and I have ADHD." 

Moments like these remind me that SS is being raised by a total narcissist. He believes that he, BM, and GF are all superior to everyone else in the world, despite the fact that they aren't. They live a modest, nothing special life like most of middle class America. SS will probably continue to believe this line of thinking and become more of an entitled ass as he hits adulthood. SS will be an assistant/receptionist at a corporate office, looking down on a sanitary worker who hauls the garbage away, but makes double SS' salary and has no student loan debt. I hope SS' peers, high school/college, or an employer knock him down a few pegs eventually. 


JRI's picture

My YSSnow56, while not academically gifted, had a superiority attitude based on being his parents' favorite, having a witty, charismatic personality and being a gifted athlete.  He looked down on all the rest of us peasants and forsaw a wealthy life.  He asked what the fastest car was and when I said Lamborghini, declared that's what he'd have.

He's been successful in some areas of his life, is a great salesman and wonderful father, but is divorced and had a spectacular business failure.  We aren't close but I gather that reality has descended on him several times and not everyone agrees he's spectacular starting with his ex, her extended family and the creditors he stiffed. He's living a more reduced lifestyle with rented home and car.

I'm sure life will get to your SS, too.

JRI's picture

Not sure what kind but not a Lambo.

Rags's picture

This kid will get his knees knocked out from under him as real life and competition smacks him in the face.   Sports, he will be middle of the road, in a truely challenging academic environment, the same will happen.

His superiority complex is going to bring him painful lessons.

Though, I do not disagree with his perspective on effort and results.  Though that is obviously spoon fed to him by the middle of the pack superiority complex infected mommies who are his custodial family influences.

One thing that strikes me as interesting about his perspective, he talks about outcome as being earned and not as something that is derserved or that something entitled to.   He may just do okay though friends may be something he struggles with not having.

Yesterdays's picture

This whole participation idea. To a certain  extent I don't think he necessarily came across as sounding entitled. There is some truth in there to what he has said though and it also sounds like he knows it's important to work hard and earn things. I think it came out slightly wrong or inconsiderate however I do understand the point he is kind of struggling to make and he could have said it more elegantly.

Part of the point here is that there needs to be an aspect of participation and trying at the beginning to make it to the end stage. I also think there can be a degree of overlap with the 2 ideas and not necessarily so black and white. In the end it does seem like he places value on working hard to accomplish great things. The truth in life is people achieve great things through many different methods. Also, results matter.

I don't think his point is entirely wrong however I do think he has a bit of attitude to work on 

CastleJJ's picture

For me, it wasn't the perspective that rubbed me the wrong way. It was the flippant attitude and derogatory tone toward jobs that he considers "less than" aka McDonald's employee. 

SS has made it clear that anyone who isn't college educated or has what he considers a "good job" is sub-par in society. He looks down on them fiercely. I grew up with the notion that everyone serves a purpose in this world, whether they work at McDonalds, or as a sanitation worker, or a doctor, or CEO of a huge company. 

Yesterdays's picture

The attitude about it is definitely a problem. It really rubs people the wrong way when you begin to speak like that. I agree with the philosophy of work hard to accomplish things however it's not ok to put others down or say youre better than others. I think that's the lesson he needs to take from the whole assignment 

Hastings's picture

BM's family are major snobs in a lot of ways. They look down on anyone who doesn't have a doctorate (of whatever type), so DH, who only has a Master's degree, was inferior. Of course, now their DS (BM's older brother) has worked a string of minimum-wage jobs for six years now as he seems unwilling or unable to find a job that uses his fancy degree. I wonder if his parents are still so snooty about degrees?

SS shows some signs of the same, but he also has an aversion to anything requiring or resembling effort, so he may go the way of Enabled Uncle.

They're also big name-droppers. First time I met them, Granddad dropped the name of a former colleague, looking to impress and I said "oh, you know Uncle Jim?!" (He was referring to my dad's best friend, who was basically an uncle and was, yes, a big name in our state.) I had no clue about their pretensions, so it was unintentional, but it definitely deflated him and amused DH to no end.

advice.only2's picture

McDonald's "Burger flippers" make 20 dollars an hour here in CA....not a bad gig for a teenager trying to earn some cash.  Hopefully SS12 understands being an engineer doesn't guarantee you a job in corporate America, many companies want a specific type of engineer, whether it be mechanical or electronic.    

Rags's picture

A degree without a work ethic and basic human interaction skills is nothing but a receipt.

Many people graduate with a degree from top tier schools and programs, get graduate degrees, etc, and end up working for people who do not  have the name brand school label or a graduate degree.  It is always interesting to me to see how irritated the degree brand gigalos/whores get when they are outperformed from people with degrees from more modest schools.

Both of mine are from for profit non copetitive degree granting Universities.    I have had a number of top tier University/Ivy League/etc... grads who worked for me or beside me.  Not since my first role out of my BS have I ever had anyone say something directly to me about their top tier school degree.  That individual did not know how to use basic hand tooks, troubleshooting instruments, etc... stuff that even those who barely squeeked by in my school knew inside out, upside down, and backwards.  My first job out of Uni I promoted within a few months to Troubleshooting Lead for Test Engineering.  I supported the other Test Engineers when they ran into a wall on functionality of systems issues.  With every new hire group there was usually someone who took a superiority attitude.  When I would get a call to work with them, the rest of the dept would often meander to that engineering bay to observe.  Invariably the solution was something very simple.  I had to learn, the rest of the team had to learn, and the new engineers would learn.  My style was collaborate, demonstrate, and then let the new engineers do it.  That often started with some lippy bullshit from the new engineer, followed by a calm resolution demonstrated by me, then me telling them to go get a cup of coffee, I would reinvove the problem, then when the new engineer would return they would expostulate about how my fix did not work, at which point one of the spectators would inform the new eng that if they had paid attention to what I had demonstrated they would know the fix for themselves.  Then... we would work through it slowly together.

My litmus test for a degree is... is it from an accredited institution. Beyond that, I am far more interested in work experience.   I had extensive training in behavioral interviewing techniques early in my career.  Once I confirmed basic qualifications through a resume review and back ground check verification, I would engage the candidate in providing examples of times they utilized XYZ and LMNOP which are key skills for the role.   Past behavior being the best indicator of future performance being one of the tenets of behavioral interviewing.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I appreciate that he appreciates hard work and ties it to success. But, he needs to be able to do it without putting others down. 

Cover1W's picture

I countered both SDs many times when they'd talk down about other people's job situations, educational challenges (or deciding to not go to college right away or at all), school stuff, etc. They could never respond back to me because their snobbery couldn't be supported. It for sure came from BMs side, all her family went to very good schools and they had the $$ to do so.

Fast forward to now, YSD18 hasn't had to work a day in her life aside from some minor child-minding back when she was around 12/13 with one of her friends and she's likely to choose a super expensive private college. YSD20 never had to work either, but we know she did during this past summer and BM gives her lots of pocket money/reimbrusements for things like doughnuts AND she is going to another expensive private college.

They both do think they are better than other people to this day.

Rags's picture

Your SD's need to watch the movie LESS THAN ZERO.  That movie scared the shit out of me when I watched it when it was released in 1987.

My experiences were nowhere near that priviledged.  But it struck home for me at that point because I was 4yrs into my foundering undergrad progression.