Just the Way You Are

“Mommy, Daddy… I am different.”

Music started with a pickup and a down beat.

“And I learn different.”

The key signature had not been established, but the melody line had a direction.

“And I learn different than the teachers are teaching.”

“And I know I know this because the teachers talk to me as if I should know something, but I don’t.”

Beautiful self-aware dissonance is created.

“So what I want to do is get all of my teachers in a room and talk so they can teach to me in a way that matches how I learn.

“Hail to the Chief” had never sounded so bold.


In 2012, our youngest daughter was in 6th grade. She had always been an amazing storyteller, bringing rich detail and creativity to her audience. Academically she was above average, but for some reason she was having problems this year. I remember feeling an amazing sense of pride after listening to her statement of the issue and a call-to-action to resolve it.

We asked for more details, and she told us stories of missing papers and not understanding directions. There were times where she felt that she did not fit in with her classmates.

So now what? We had an opening verse and a chorus, but the song had to go further. There was a slim-to-none chance that we could do as she had requested, if only our school systems could devote that much attention to any one student, especially one that was doing well.


This is the opening for the third chapter for the 10K Maniacs assignment, about how my daughter brought us on a journey to learn about how she sees the world, and the people that helped us along the way. Title of the post comes from the Billy Joel song:

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