October 27, 2007

The Child is Father of the Man

or, some things never seem to change...

After my mother's death, my youngest sister Mary Beth gathered together, and sorted and bundled, all of the various bits and pieces of paper my mother had saved over the years. On a recent visit, my sister presented me with my "packet" -- which was really quite astounding as it contained many things I'd long forgotten, but which my mother had tucked away.

Among these items were two "progress reports" from my kindergarten classes at P.S. 236, in Baltimore, Maryland. I read the teacher's comments with some amusement, and share them here as a remarkable indication of how little some things can change. I invite others who may be blessed to have such documents to do the same -- or at least to look at them for an amused few minutes.

The January report reads:

Toby brings new information to our group and makes helpful suggestions concerning our work. He is gradually learning to respect the efforts of those who are not as capable or as quick to comprehend as he is. Occasionally he has ridiculed work not as good as his own and we are discouraging this.

Things were under more control by June, perhaps helped by a change of venue:

Toby seems to have adjusted well to his new classroom. He takes an active and enthusiastic part in our activities. Toby needs to learn to use a quiet voice during work periods, in consideration of the other children who are working.

Toby has a good background of information which he has shared with us to add much to our activities. He is well liked by his classmates and gets along nicely with them.

So, that's the early documentary evidence, from certified employees of the Baltimore Department of Education. To echo Robert Burns, I'm glad these "gifties" turned up, to allow me to see myself as others saw me half a century ago. Thanks Mom, and thank Mary Beth -- and thanks Mrs. Carroll and Mrs. Ackrill.

Tobias Haller BSG


June Butler said...

Toby, as you know, I've heard your kindergarten report stories already, but they were funny the second time around.

He is gradually learning to respect the efforts of those who are not as capable or as quick to comprehend as he is.

I give you frequent practice in that exercise. At least you have dropped your habit of ridiculing those whose work is not as good as your own, or I'd be in a constant state of humiliation.

Toby needs to learn to use a quiet voice during work periods, in consideration of the other children who are working.

We're a loud family, so I can appreciate the challenge for you there. In your preaching, the voice is definitely an asset.

I enjoyed my visit to St. James and our time together at the gathering on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Tobias, what a great photo, and a great post. Did you grow up in Hamilton, hon?

Wherever you got the rest of your schooling, it's clear that you made the most of what your teachers had to offer. I have the impression that you play well with others, and here on your blog you use your quiet voice and are courteous to those who are less able or less well-informed. I have yet to see you resort to ridicule. Your mom must have been very proud of you.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thank you for your restraint, GM. I'm still recalling the visit of the various denizens of the Blogosphere with fondness.

Mary Clara, Hamilton idneed, hon. In my early years we moved about a few times, but always in the White Ave. / Harford Road area. I was baptized at Church of the Messiah (Episcopal) but then conditionally rebaptized at St. Dominic's when I was six. Shortly thereafter the family moved out to Middle River. I've been away from "Bawmer" since graduation from Towson State decades ago.

Thanks for your kindness.

KJ said...

Okay, I'll play. It is funny how much of who we are is so apparent at a young age. Of course, I was always a "sensitive" boy.

I received my "packet" a few years ago when my parents sold the family home and down-sized.

My parents founded a little Christian school in 1964, in part to protect us from the evils of a secular, humanistic education. Miss Nelson, my kindergarten teacher writes of me, "Kevin applies himself well to a task. He wants to be sure he is right, which slows him down."

Ain't that the truth?

Now, I hope that Grandmère Mimi, who sometimes doubts the sincerity of my kindness, will read Mrs. Graham's comments which read: "Kevin's attitude toward school and what is asked of him reflects his attitude toward God. He is always a fine example to the other children."

Grandmère, Mrs. Graham would not lie to you.

June Butler said...

KJ, what about the digs that you so very slyly slip in?

Could it be that you were currying favor with the teacher way back then? No. Of course not.

My teachers gave only letter grades, so I don't have report cards with comments. One year I did not get grades at all during one quarter, because I missed so much school. That must have been when I had the whooping cough.

Dennis said...

Too funny.

I've lost that only one I had from that age. It said something like, "Dennis is much more focussed on his own projects than in joining in class projects."

Strange how they figure out our basic traits so early!

Sorry that we weren't in NYC in time to troop along with the others to your parish. Next time I am in NYC-land I'll head that way.