Wow, what a breath of fresh air! Daniel was placed in a team teaching group in the 6th grade. His teachers were motivated, happy, in-control and imaginative. I went to school the very first week and introduced myself and found a support group in that wonderful team of ladies. They challenged Daniel, allowed Daniel to challenge them, involved me in his school life, and began the process of teaching Daniel how truly capable and intelligent he was. Daniel’s confidence levels grew. Daniel was placed in the band during the 6th grade and met a percussion instructor that would follow him into High School and play a major role in Daniel’s school success. This instructor was a drummer (and who doesn’t know the saying about drummers marching to a different beat). He never saw Daniel as anything but wonderful.
Daniel was not without his problems in middle school. He was bullied and on occasional fought back, which would land him in trouble and in the principal’s office. The Principal came to like Daniel, despite his problems, because as he said, “Daniel always tells the truth, even when it works against him.”
During school lunch time, Daniel usually sat alone or with teachers (for his protection), until one day, a boy walked up to Daniel and announced that he was going to be Daniel’s friend. Daniel responded that he didn’t need a friend, to which his new friend responded, “Too bad, you have one now”. This young man was a tormented soul, but a true friend to Daniel all through high school. The young man’s highly dysfunctional family overwhelmed him and eventually turned him into a bitter adult. He and Daniel are no longer connected and we consider that to be a great loss for us all.
As positive as middle school was for Daniel (mostly positive), it became a disaster for his younger brother. Little brother had to follow Daniel’s footsteps – definitely not easy. Everyone quickly learned that the two brothers were very different, but it could not have been easy. While Daniel’s instructors were building his confidence, little brother met a math teacher and another wounded child that destroyed his. The Advanced Math teacher’s program convinced little brother that he wasn’t bright – imagine a child qualified to be in an advanced class, coming out of it feeling dumb! Then a school mate reeling from the death of her father wooed little brother, only to wound him so bad that his future relationships and self-confidence were tainted by the experience. It was hard to find and live with the knowledge that my children were wounded right under my nose, especially when I thought I was keeping a close eye on them.