Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Eating Out of Trashcans is not a Life


This is the last week of school for my children, and all of them have firmed up their summer plans…..except Corey, that is.

Ashley will be attending summer school for most of the summer. Classes only last half of the day, and every Friday is a day off. She has really enjoyed summer school in past years, and is looking forward to making yet another tie-dyed tee-shirt this summer!

Ronnie will be receiving some homebound school services twice a week for about an hour. It’s not enough to cramp his fun but is enough to ensure his skills with visual phonics remain on target. In late July, Ronnie will be having some major surgery, so his last month of the summer will be spent recovering from that.

Chip will be Ronnie’s personal care aide. He has already planned several activities to keep Ronnie busy and away from the video games!

And then there’s Corey. Corey is a less than mediocre student, and will be passing 11th grade by the skin of his teeth. His teachers and I don’t feel summer school is warranted because if he wasn’t motivated during the school year, trying to find that motivation over the summer is a lost cause.

So, several months ago, I began sharing information and phone numbers with him about summer jobs. He never followed up on anything. I pushed a bit, and asked if he had applied at Toys R Us (they had a help wanted sign posted). He applied but then told me the only thing they would offer is a job stocking shelves in the warehouse. Apparently such work is below him, and he declined.

Then I printed information out about volunteer opportunities, re-emphasizing to him that he had to work or volunteer, and if he didn’t I would make sure his summer was not a pleasant one. He is almost 18 years old. Sitting home all summer and playing video games is NOT an option. He hasn’t, to my knowledge, inquired about any of the volunteer opportunities.

So where does that leave Corey? Corey will be assigned lots and lots of jobs around the house – jobs he will not enjoy doing, but jobs that will keep him from melding with the TV. There is a shed to be cleaned out – lots and lots of ground to be dug up for a rose garden – an attic to clean out – a deck to waterproof – weeds to pull – kitchen cabinets to sand and refinish – and the list goes on and on.

Needless to say, I am not happy about this. Corey has decided his future rests with the military, and nothing between now and enlistment matters. I’m worried that the military is not really going to be an option (if he doesn’t graduate, for instance), or that even if he gets in, he won’t stay in. He would then have few if any job skills, and one of my biggest fears would be realized – he would end up back on the streets where he spent the first 12 years of his life.

Some of my friends say I am too hard on him. My response is, “I love him, and just want his life to be more than dirty alleys and food from trash cans.”

1 comment:

MMC said...

FWIW I think you're doing the right thing for the summer. My youngest, who has a nonverbal learning disability, has been determined to get into the music industry. Initially, as a singer. She has a nice voice but that nice?? And she was struggling hugely in school with a lot of I-don't-care attitude thrown in.

So I told her I would support her in her dream (by taking her to auditions and such) but if I did that for her, there's something she had to do for me. She had to have a back-up plan in case hers doesn't work out. We made that agreement and now we wait and see I guess.

She is only 14 but, even though she still says that when she's out of school she wants to move to Toronto and join Much Music, she is becoming a better student, putting a little more effort in. I haven't asked her yet what her backup plan is - at the moment, I don't want to rock the boat when things are going better for her.

Raising kids (disabled or not) - hardest job ever.