Recently I was chatting with a friend about her son’s experience in 6th grade. Her comment to me was, “Well, it has been a year of life lessons.” I wanted to know more. To summarize, her son was with a teacher he didn’t get along with, he ended up with incredible amounts of busy work, and basically had an academic year without a lot of growth or learning accompanied by a good dose of frustration.

As she explained the situation to me, I could feel myself getting hot and bothered on her behalf. She had done everything within reason to remedy the situation with teachers and administrators but had come upon roadblock after roadblock. I loved the way she wrapped things up.

She said she had told her son,

“You know, this is just the beginning of your experiences dealing with teachers you don’t enjoy or see eye to eye with or ones that are not the best for you. In the coming years, your mom won’t be able to come in and save you, so this is a great experience in learning how to deal with educators that you don’t connect with. It will happen in middle school, in high school, and in college and you will have to somehow make it work and make the best of it.

“This is also not the last time you will have to jump through hoops or do busy work to check off boxes to get to the more important things. We all jump through hoops everyday in order to get what we really want for our families and ourselves. This may not have been the year with the most valuable academic lessons, but it was certainly a year full of crucial life lessons.”

I really admired my friend’s outlook as she switched a negative into a positive, took blame away from others and allowed her son to be the driver of his own attitude, outlook, and education. With one conversation, the year that could have been deemed “a waste,” became practically priceless.