Monday, March 5, 2012

F is no longer for Failure: Phail!

Report card time is always phun in the Mynd household because all my darling ophspring are ophten inspirationally and motivationally challenged. This is the cleverest way I can say 'lazy.'


They come upon this naturally and when I say naturally, I mean genetically. Yes, growing up I did not live by the creed "a Mynd is a terrible thing to waste!" I was ophten the underperphorming student. I phelt that homework was not and should not be a requirement phor passing a class. Ophten, the work was phar beneath my abilities and to do it was to somehow acknowledge that I was in any way less than giphted. My project on the little jewish girl who hid in the attic got a Diary oph Anne F-rank.


So, in a similar phasion, the little Mynds have entered middle and high school armed with an epic understated unwillingness to do as little as possible to squeek by. I recall vividly a conversation with one oph them...


Me: so what is your report card going to look like this semester?

{insert Mynd child}: I don't know.

Me: That usually means bad things, does it mean bad things this time?

{insert Mynd child}: I don't know.

Me: what DO you know? Will there be A's and B's? Or D's and F's?

{insert Mynd child}: there aren't any F's.

Me: what about D's?

{insert Mynd child}: maybe.

Me: so you're on the precipice of an F in how many classes? (yeah, words, go big or go home!)

{insert Mynd child}: there aren't any F's.

Me: you're missing the point, D's can easily slip into an F. How close are you to that?

{insert Mynd child}: no, dad, D's turn into E's, they don't give F's anymore.

Me: WHAT?!?!

I proceeded to go into a rant that went something like this:

No F's? Are you kidding me? Were we conphusing the poor children into not knowing how the alphabet goes? Clearly the ones with the good grades remained unaphphefcted by our hideous use oph the letters.

Apparently, there is a 'stigma' surrounding an F because"'F means Failure!" and in some households of the less tolerant and more vocabularyily (making up words is just one oph the many services I offer) challenged, there might be another F word injected between "means" and "Failure." Well, umm, Yeah?! Did you pass? No? Then you must have "not passed" because saying that you "failed" might hurt your phragile ego. So, you got an E, doubtless that means "Excellent Effort that was almost Equal to the Example Exemplary student we know you are, Ego intact!" We're sure that it can't possibly translate to "Egads, you Failed!" (but it does in my tough love house).

Long ago, there was another F word that was bandied about, but yet hardly heard nowadays. That word is "Flunked" which loosely translated means 'go to jail, directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.' or phor you oph the more recent generations you probably know this as 'Game Over.' (insert sound phrom Ms. Pacman here). Talk about a stigma, you might as well begin your career as a potato salinity management officer, sanitation engineer or slurpee design specialist at that point because that word would phollow you.

Another one that may just cause the letter D to be permanently removed phrom grading systems is "dunce" like the dude who got to wear the Ku Klux Klan hat in the corner, but clearly wasn't a big enough phailure to be phailed or phlunked. Yeah, iph that guy got to stay in school, imagine what the loser who phlunked was like.

And phrankly, the schools aren't making this better. I went in to discuss one oph the children's progress with the middle school principal. Here's how that conversation went down:

Me: I'm concerned about {insert Mynd child name here}'s grades this semester. I think iph (s)he gets held back and doesn't move on to high school with her(his) class, (s)he could go into an emotional tailspin (I phigured I was talking her language). We want to get on top oph this now bephore it is too late. (S)He's phailing three classes and we need a plan that we can work together on to get some success.

Principal: I share your concerns and want to work on a plan with you, stay here while I have your child's grades pulled.

(exits, while Mrs. Mynd and I sit, content that we have gotten through to the Principal)

Principal: ok, I have the grades here and we can all relax a bit. Your child isn't phailing, (s)he only has D's.

(Dumbstruck look...)

Yeah...pretty sure that it isn't the children who are phailing.


Yes, writing this was very difficult in the same way that Pygmalion was phor George Bernard Shaw in his attempts to phonetically spell out the cockney accent oph Eliza Doolittle. At least I got to dumb down the autocorrect oph an iPad in the process. I am sure in the process, I have missed a few "f"s in the post, but that is less to do with my phailure and more to do with my laziness. Please like all my teachers did, point out my phlaws.




  1. LOL, OK so I'm the first to read you this morning and I can sooo relate to this one too. Great minds MUST think alike. I was the same in school too but then they didn't know about ADD then so I just thought I was dumber than most other students, lol. In adulthood later I found out I'm pretty dang smart but I digress. I went through the same thing with my daughter who has ADD but is smart as a whip UNTIL it comes to having to put any effort into a project or homework. 30 min homework always turned into 2 hours worth of hassle. YOu at least made it sound funny, I was completely frustrated at the time.  I could go on with this one BUT all I'll say is **AMEN** to that.....have a great day.

  2. Yeah, very frustrating to go through, especially knowing that I did it too. Why can't they learn NEW lessons?

  3.  LMAO, uh you should know being ADD. This sums ADD people...
    "UpSide Down..InSide Out..Complicated..BackWards..Struggle
    Bound. I Tend to Take the Road Less Traveled by Blazing My Own Trail.
    It, I find..Builds Character and Resilience. I'm STUBBORN that Way..."  Just enjoy the ride because their spirit will stay in tact and you will love it......eventually. My daughter is now raising a daughter that is having the same tendencies and I just laugh and tell her the same thing I just told you.

  4. Hm, I was under the impression that EVERYONE today passes, even if all they did was wipe a booger onto their homework.

    Sad, and frightening.  I'm scared to get old, actually.  Not because death will be looming, but because I'll be put into a nursing home ran by the children who passed through school without even having to get out of bed.

  5. justkeepinitrealfolksMarch 5, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Here in NC we have a computer system that allows the parents to check our kids' grades anytime. Total accountability!!!! I know the instant they take a test and get on their ass as soon as they walk in the door if it's a bad grade.

  6. Oh my CRAP, this hippie-dippie, "everyone's a winner so we'll give your kid a trophy just for showing up" bullshit makes me want to stab kittens.  Reality check: sometimes you're a loser, and it sucks.  But guess what?  That's what makes you work harder in life so quit your whining and drop and give me twenty, you little pussy.

  7. I hear you Betty. It's not fair, I made lots of pretty boogers growing up...

  8. Yeah, we've got the same thing here provided the teachers keep it up to date. I'm just still lazy... Oops.

  9. Put down the round tip scissors, Jen. Just because kittens are cute and energetic and at the same time lazy, does not make them an adequate sacrifice...
    I couldn't agree more. When I coached softball (coordinated was probably a better word) I always started by asking if they wanted to all play and have a good time or if they wanted to win... Most times people want to win, and thy want to know that they are in the game because it gives a better chance of that.

  10. We didn't have A's, B'S, C'S, etc at my high school. We had H - High Standard, S - Satisfactory, N - for not satisfactory.

    I got 100% in my maths class - it wasn't hard, the teacher just wanted to look good - and still only got S in my report card for not trying hard enough. The teacher and I didn't see eye to eye and couldn't agree on certain topics. I thought he was a knob and he disagreed. He also called my sister a "no hoper" and my Dad was promptly removed from the school grounds.

    I got entered into some gifted student program, look out ladies, and was allowed to do "my own research" on topics of my choosing during school hours. Basically "don't go to class and make other students feel dumb", the opposite in not giving students F's. I just went home and watched Monty Python and therefore missed a lot of classes. I got an N in my report card, but got 96% in the exam.

    The only questions I got wrong were relating to light spectrums, for example, "what are the colours that make up white light and seen in rainbows?"

    But I'm colourblind, I've never seen a full rainbow in my life and never will.

    ... I feel a blog coming on...

  11. Inspiring you is the reason I do this, Rusty

  12. Ha. Phail indeed.
    If I didn't experience what it's like to suck so bad at things, I would never know why winning feels so good.
    Kids need a little tough love/mocking/'phailing' at life from time to time. 
    I agree with Jen.

  13. Everyone agrees with Jen (or bad things happen).

    I spent the month leading up to my eldest's first year in Middle school busting on everything I could find just to prepare him. Probably bad parenting, but I always explained what I was doing.

  14. Homework is evil, really it is.  It doesn't, at least it didn't for me, help me learn anything other than that I hated it.  And because I hated it, I hated doing it, which both hurt my grades in school and instilled bad habits that almost prevented me from graduating on time.  And I am, trying not to be too cocky, very intelligent.  Tests were no big deal for me because of that.

    That said, advancing children simply to make it look like schools are doing a better job is flat out wrong.  It does nothing positive for the kid, as they'll be further behind the curve.  Which is more damaging to a child: holding them back and hurting their feelings for a few weeks, or setting them up to struggle not only in the short term but perhaps for their entire lives? 




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