Sunday, June 01, 2008

What is life?

When I say to people that my son has special education needs, they often think that he is autistic or something like that.

In his case his psychologist did wonder whether he could be borderline Asperger's, but has ruled it out for now.

We recently had a parent-teacher consultation and it was good news to hear that his form teacher (as head of that section of the school) has made plans for son to do some Maths lessons with some of the 'more able boys' in the Form above him from next year. This is subject to time-tabling working out.

That is good news for us. Having said that we are very thankful that son has calmed down so much this year. He is clearly more relaxed. He is enjoying school, making more friends, not afraid of making mistakes.

He still has his moments, especially when he cannot find any logic in what his teachers require him to do. Eg in swimming, "What's the point of making us do sculling when we can already do the backstroke?"

Then there were issues with his being bored with Fun Choir that has ceased to be fun. With the new songs and therefore new challenges he is clearly much happier.

What is mentally exhausting for us -- me, especially -- is that we have to keep going about finding answers. So one morning it was, "I don't really want to go to school today. I am bored."

A few minutes later it was, "What is life, any way?" Not "what is the meaning of life?" or "why do we exist?" but "what is life?".

At ten minutes past eight, when the school goes at 8.30am, I didn't really wish to discuss that. Somehow managed to bundle him off to school.

Having been a philosophy major I am usually happy to discuss such issues as life, rationality, morality, etc, but I find it exceedingly difficult to discuss philosophy with my eight-year-old because I can never find suitable examples and illustrations that an eight-year-old would find relevant.

Any way we did read a chapter of his Philosophy for Kids book and settled on the chapter "are number as real as human beings?". And he seemed really happy that we did that together. Perhaps after mulling over the reality of numbers he would be closer to answering his own question of "what is life?". Who knows.

The point is, he needs a parent to be there with him to explore these questions.

I reminded him that he once said I could return to work when he was seven-plus. Now that he's eight, he is still very against the idea of Mum not being there to pick him up from school.

"I won't have a chance to make professor now."

"Do you really want to be a professor?"

"Yes, I do."

He said something like, isn't having your own business better than being a professor.

Sometimes I am not sure.

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