Being an Author Parent & Guiding Your Child in the Art of Dragon Care & Zombie-Hunting

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First of all, THANK YOU for the outpouring of support, stories and help. Please continue to comment on my post Common Core and Vegan Zombies if you want. I read all comments. I might not respond to everyone because, if people have signed up to follow any further comments, I could blow up their e-mails.

This said, the “Dreaded Parent-Teacher Meeting” went rather well. For the record, this private preschool has been wonderful. We love the teachers and they love The Spawn. I know they are doing these “evaluations” because they get directives from the Borg public schools. Blech.

The Meeting

My husband went with me (so someone would have hold of my leash). We offered insight into our unorthodox home life and explained that The Spawn has two introversive parents both working in non-structured creative fields.

And he is FOUR.

We (Dad and Mom) were also run through the meat-grinder of public education and punished for being different. I was stuck in the hall and repeated every grade from 6th on because of The Almighty Standardized Tests, and Hubby figured out how to game the tests without actually learning anything, LOL.

So yesterday, I received a copy of The Spawn’s “report card.” BEST BAD REPORT CARD EVER!!!

Can the child tell you his or her name?

Spawn: Zombie Robot.

Does the child seek approval and acceptance from friends and peers?

NO.

Um, so codependency is a good thing?

Where Did The Spawn Make A’s

Separates easily from parent.

WIN!

Assembles puzzles.

WIN!

Uses good habits while eating and cleans up afterwards.

WIN!

The rest? Eh.

Most of the stuff he is being “graded” on is how well he integrates into groupthink like “Plays Mom and Dad.” Okay, I’m a writer and Daddy shoots competitively. He blows the curve on this for weirdness.

Um, Spawn knows his mother is a cyborg (and is rather excited about that).

RiseoftheMachines_KristenLamb_FullCover_Final

“Would rather play alone than with other children.” Helloooo? I’d rather be by myself, too and so would Dad. We’re creative INTROVERTS. We even mentioned to the teachers that, if we (the parents) were judged by the same litmus, we’d likely score about the same. We felt the test was biased against introverts.

The teacher and admin then claimed that Spawn had no problem playing with others and could be gregarious, but that he didn’t like group activities. I replied that just because he’s an introvert doesn’t mean he’s shy. I suggested that he’s needing downtime away from the others and it’s less defiance and more needing to recharge. Oddly, the teacher and administrator paused thoughtfully then said, “Actually, that’s a valid point.”

I wish we could educate the world that Introvert is not the same as SHY.

batman

Other “standards.”

Sings a song from memory like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.

Spawn version.

“Twinkle twinkle little bat. Now I know just where ur at. Up above the world so high. Shooting zombies from the sky. Red mist.”

And Spawn prefers singing One Republic, anyway. You’ll hear him singing, perfectly in-tune, Baby, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep. Thinking about the things that we could be…

Can tell an adult his first and last name.

Zombie Robot. Um, duh.

Enjoys doing new things.

FAIL, but his parents don’t like new things. We are obsessive people. We focus on a handful of activities and work toward mastery to the point of blind obsession.

Can child name at least eight body parts?

No, only two. “Headshot” and “center mass.” (Joking! He named eight.)

The Test is Flawed

I think children of creative people (writers) need a new test.

Zombie Robot's mother.

Zombie Robot’s mother.

Does child understand the concept of a deadline and to leave Mommy or Daddy Writer ALONE?

A+++++

Does child understand the passing of Little Darlings and know how to deal with grieving the loss of imaginary people in a positive way?

Yes.

Does child appreciate that imaginary friends are essential to being AWESOME as a kid and adult author?

Yes.

Does child appreciate that multiple personalities makes better writing?

Yes.

Does child interact and play well with the voices in his or her head?

Yes.

Can child effectively diffuse a fight between imaginary friends?

Yes.

Can child clear a room with a bad@$$ NERF gun, checking blind spots and differentiating targets before shooting? I.e. Can he or she tell zombies from an innocent unicorn, angel or elf?

Yes.

Can child train and nurture a mythical creature, like a pet dragon?

Yes.

Does your child treat all races with respect, whether Werewolf, Vampire, or Fae?

Yes.

Does child understand the nuances of Star Wars and understand why the prequels sucked?

Yes.

Can the child differentiate between an AWESOME Joss Whedon vampire and a lame sparkly one?

Yes.

Does child appreciate how EPIC Big Bang Theory is? Extra Credit: Does child use any quotes from BBT?

Yes and Spawn uses, “You’re in my spot” appropriately when Mommy sits in his chair.

Does your child prefer DC or Marvel superheroes?

Marvel.

Can your child identify the major Marvel characters?

Yes.

Does he or she want to be ALL of them?

Yes.

Can child appreciate how any super villain apprehended by The Wonder Twins needs to turn in Villain Card for a slot on My Little Pony?

Yes.

Does your child offer his name and age to total strangers?

NO.

Can your child clear a browsing history?

Needs Improvement. He prefers watching Japanese drift racing on You Tube.

Can your child go from being a human ally to an infected zombie immediately?

Yes.

Does your child tell adults (who are not family) his home address or phone number?

No. “Get a warrant.”

Can child tell the difference between a Klingon and a Ferengi?

Yes.

Does child understand that when Author Parent says, “He SO needs to DIE” that this is referring to manuscript and not real life?

Yes.

Yes, We Are THOSE Parents

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I know the schools are likely unaccustomed to people like us. The administrator was highly distressed that he couldn’t tell an adult his name or address. What if he became lost? My first thought was we don’t let Spawn out of our sight and, in the off chance his does get lost in a store, we’d probably know to come pick up any child claiming to be “Zombie Robot” or “Blue Angel.”

And I said to the teacher, “I know you’re concerned he won’t tell adults his name and address, but why do they need to know that? Any pedophile is going to be hard-pressed to get The Spawn to give away information that’s none of their business anyway.”

“Uh, I guess you have a point?”

Solutions/Plan

Yes, this is us.

Yes, this is us.

Hubby and I hunted for supplementary private play-based and kinesthetic learning programs for the summer and fall. I had him going to school five days a week at this school, but will drop to three and bring him to the more Montessori-like school two days a week. This way we can foster his creativity but also put him in a structured environment.

Even creative people have to be able to work within a system of order and rules. We don’t get a pass. I think the key for us is doing this in a way that keeps him passionate about leaning and but also show he can embrace being creative, unique and introverted, too.

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback on Tuesday’s post. I read all of them. I LOVED them. I cannot thank you enough for your stories, suggestions and support.

Do you think schools and curriculums are unfairly biased against the introvert? What are your thoughts about new testing for creative people? Can you think of other questions that should be given to children of writers?

Anyway…

To prove it and show my love, for the month of MAY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

I will announce April’s winner after waking from the conference coma in a couple days.

If you want more help with plot problems, antagonists, structure, beginnings, then I have a FANTASTIC class coming up to help you!

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Understanding the Antagonist

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I’ll be running the First Five Pages again at the end of May, so stay tuned.

And, if you need help building a brand, social media platform, please check out my latest best-selling book, Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World.

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  1. #1 by Jackie Saulmon Ramirez on May 8, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    This was funny!🙂

  2. #2 by Pamela Beckford on May 8, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    I laughed a lot reading this. But the best line here is “Would rather play alone than with other children.” Helloooo? I’d rather be by myself, too and so would Dad. We’re creative INTROVERTS. We even mentioned to the teachers that, if we (the parents) were judged by the same litmus, we’d likely score about the same. We felt the test was biased against introverts.

    I’m tired of being an introvert in an extrovert-favored world. I’m not even truly an introvert, but more of an ambivert.

    • #3 by Lanette Kauten on May 8, 2014 - 4:06 pm

      I don’t think Kristen is a true introvert but a highly energetic ambivert that needs down time. I’m a true introvert, and her awesomeness overwhelmed me this weekend, but I adore her so it’s okay.

  3. #4 by Marilyn Hudson Tucker on May 8, 2014 - 3:55 pm

    I think you are a FANTASTIC parent. He’s lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have him.

  4. #5 by Heather on May 8, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    Amen to this! I know I recommended a book yesterday, but today I’m recommending another. The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine Aron, who talks about why society doesn’t value introverts and artists who tend to be more sensitive to the world around them.

    And yes, I think telling your name and address to a stranger to be wrong. But maybe, telling my name and address to a police officer, not wrong. It’s the whole trusted adult thing. And maybe he just doesn’t trust anyone who’s trying to quiz him on it.

    • #6 by Kathy on May 10, 2014 - 2:54 am

      There is another phrase which describes a highly sensitive person: It is ESP.
      Think about it.

  5. #7 by CindySheaNH on May 8, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    My son’s imaginary friend was Kimberly, the pink power ranger. (He got extra credit for not being sexist.) To this day he still promises to save me from the zombie apocalypse. He’s 23! He loves his mom and his mom loves him. And THAT is all that matters!

    Encourage his imagination. Schools should give more credit to kids with vivid imaginations. After all, it’s kids like that who invent things like the internet!

  6. #8 by Deborah Schaumberg on May 8, 2014 - 3:59 pm

    Thank you! As a parent/ writer I’ve always tried to teach my kids the power of imagination. Now teenagers, one rebelled and is very logical, wants to be a lawyer but she’s very cool and the other still talks to herself and refuses to grow up. Yay!

  7. #9 by Elizabeth G. Marro on May 8, 2014 - 4:03 pm

    I’m coming to this way late. In fact, I just read your follow-up. First, you are an amazing mother. He’s lucky to have you and he’s going to be great. I loved that you got the teachers to think a few times about what they were actually saying. Second, when you write about your life and your kid and yourself, you make me laugh yet feel the edge of pain running beneath it all the time. Your life experience has given you great material. I love your voice and your spunk. I have never read your fiction but if you ever publish some of these personal posts as a collection of essays, I will buy that book and share it with everyone I know.

  8. #10 by Widdershins on May 8, 2014 - 4:04 pm

    ‘Do you think schools and curriculums are unfairly biased against the introvert?’ … seriously? They’re biased against HUMANS! … perfect for the production of little cogs to go into big machines …not just there in the US, but here in Canada, and it only takes a google search to discover the same thing for a goodly portion of the rest of the world.

    Of course they are great teachers and great schools. They’re in the minority, but they give us and the next generation, hope.

  9. #11 by Stacey Haggard Brewer on May 8, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    I love the Spawn. Never met the kid, but I’m pretty sure he’s one that I would be able to relate to (and obviously you are that rare type of parent who would not be appalled that a fantasy writer could probably relate to your kid).

    Also: Well done on the Klingon-Ferengi thing. Very important lesson. Wouldn’t want him to make a fatal mistake if a game of dabo goes south. Do remember to remind him about Cardassians. They can’t be trusted…

  10. #12 by trentpmcd on May 8, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    It isn’t just the test that’s biased against introverts, it’s the world.

  11. #13 by Jami Gold on May 8, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Loved–seriously loved–this! Yes, for all the talk about being individuals and wanting kids to stand up for themselves against peer pressure and bullying, the system too often wants them to be robots. You’re handling this just right!🙂

  12. #14 by Kait Nolan on May 8, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    OMG LOVED THIS. Yes, schools are absolutely biased against introverts and against anyone who has the audacity to THINK FOR THEMSELVES. I give you two thumbs up as a parent.

  13. #15 by Shea Ford on May 8, 2014 - 4:33 pm

    Hee hee. I would love to spend a week in your house.😀

    All these “standards” and tests are such a waste of time. The standard test I took in the eighth grade placed me in a basic English class in high school. I was there for about a month. Then I wrote my first short story assignment. Fortunately I had an observant teacher who realized I was not in the right class, and she suggested that I move to the advanced class.

    Let our children be children. They’re not machines to be tested and placed (unless there’s a place for a zombie robot😉 )

  14. #16 by Ms Mahler on May 8, 2014 - 4:35 pm

    Only problem I had as an introvert in school was getting crap about spending recess on my own. I had a lot more problems on that from my parents than my teachers. That said, totally with you the many problems schools have for any kid that doesn’t ‘fit’ a pre-made box. (Total credit to the teacher who work their asses off to keep a broken system functioning, teachers–esp. public school teachers–are some of my real life heroes.)

  15. #17 by heidiwriter on May 8, 2014 - 4:35 pm

    I agree– sounds to me like you are doing everything right and The Spawn is going to turn out to be an amazing young man! It’s true, creative introverts just don’t “fit the mold.” And that’s a good thing, in my opinion!

  16. #18 by Nan Sampson on May 8, 2014 - 4:42 pm

    I think I need to give your modified test to the teachers at my daughter’s school (and she’s in Middle School, so we’ve been fighting this battle for a LONG time)! They used to tell me in the pre-school days that she didn’t play imaginatively because she didn’t want to dress up like a princess. Oy! Thanks for this! I think Spawn will turn out wonderfully!

  17. #19 by Amy Shojai, CABC (@amyshojai) on May 8, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    People think I’m an extrovert. Uh well, no. I “learned” to act like an extrovert when I fell in love with the stage. But I still spend the majority of my time alone (well, with cats and dogs who don’t judge or ask for conversation) and find it to be my Three Rs: relaxing, rejuvenating, and required. Sounds like you’ve got a great plan for Spawn.

  18. #20 by TraceyLynnTobin on May 8, 2014 - 5:23 pm

    I’ve always been a huge hater of the way our education system is set up, and especially of standardized tests. One of my favorite quotes is, “Everyone is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid.” I think the system is set up to encourage kids to be identical little carbon copies of each other, and as someone who has always been creative at heart, that system has always been extremely frustrating to me.

    I would love to see a little diversity in the teaching process, especially in the younger grades. I would like to see kids assessed for their STRENGTHS instead of their weaknesses, and their learning adjusted to suit those strengths. For instance, I was a big writer right from the 3rd grade, but the only time any of my teachers ever cared about my ability to write creatively was when it helped me answer those horrible essay questions that you get in “English” class all the time. When it came to the school system I was rarely ever encouraged to write creatively, never had that love and ability nurtured, and thus eventually came to the (terrible) conclusion that I couldn’t be a writer because being “successful” in life was more important than being HAPPY in life.How stupid is that?

    On the other end of things, I’m a parent myself now, so I often find myself twitching when people say anything off about my daughter. She’s extremely intelligent, clever, and imaginative, and everyone agrees that she’s going to be a super-smart little cookie, but then in the same breath they’ll make comments about how she’s “shy” and spends a lot of time by her lonesome, and it’s like, Jeebus, people…don’t you ever just want to be left alone for two minutes?😛

    In conclusion: the system sucks, every kid is different, and that’s all there is to it.😉

  19. #21 by Kim Kouski on May 8, 2014 - 5:31 pm

    I”m going to share my story of the public school system. It was like living in hell. I am ALWAYS putting a story together in my head. ALWAYS. I can talk to you and watch my story in my head play out. I put together stories, like ONce upon a Time and Agents of Shield and write fanfiction and novels. Teachers told me I daydream too much and will never amount to ANYTHING. They yelled at me, threatened at me, complained to my parents, blah, blah, blah. And since my parents aren’t that creative, they also beat me down. So when I finally came to writing, I was pretty broken. But Thank God and HIs grace, I’m up and running.🙂 I too understand your listing for the Spawn and wish it was used by schools, but alas, it’s not. Instead the schools demand the kids follow their rules, not the child’s and they stamp out creativity. As long as they march in a tight little line, no one minds. Good for you for seeing your child’s creativity instead of stifling it. And don’t put my name in the hat, my first novel will be out this fall with Little Roni Publishers.🙂 (I’m still attacked and beaten down for my creativity and I’ve learned to say, whatever. This is who I am, Ms Nerd and I love it.)

  20. #22 by Laurie A Will on May 8, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    I think the public school system is bias against introverts and the shy. When I was in grade I was shy. I lacked confidence and didn’t volunteer answers. Most of the teachers I had assumed it was because I didn’t know the answers. I think that is a big part of the problem, they assume. They shouldn’t assume that every kid is going to have the same experiences and the same skills. You are fortunate because they teachers at The Spawn’s preschool were willing to listen. When my oldest son was in preschool the teachers and director there would not listen. I would explain, that he hadn’t had experience playing with kids his same age. He liked to play with adults. I would explain that He’d only been to the park a handful of times because I was not able to get him there. The teachers would just stare at me like they could not comprehend what I was saying. How can a kid be good at something he’s only done a couple of times. I don’t care how times his peers have done it. I am fortunate that even though the grade school my boys go to have to do the standardized tests, they don’t place importance on them. My oldest is good at them, my youngest is not. But when I go in to see his teacher before she gives me the test scores she tells me that the scores do not reflect what my son knows. They do other school assessment that more accurately show what knows. They also recognize that he’s a super bright little boy, but he does things on his own time schedule, as many kids do.So they work with him and he makes huge gains. They work with all the children this way. They meet them where they are at and help them go where they need to go and each child is treated like an individual. I wish all schools were like this. I’ll stop rambling. Hearing your story just brings it all back for me what I went through with the preschool my oldest son went to.

  21. #23 by Nita on May 8, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    Although my husband was a teacher and both my son and daughter-in-law teach, I believe administrations and those supposedly in charge are biased against ANY student who thinks for themselves. I also think schools give too many tests and have to teach to the test (which your hubby learned to work around) rather than actually teaching a subject. Not the fault of teachers, it comes down from those not teaching but in control. Good for Spawn having parents who understand and nourish creativity.

  22. #24 by marybethlee on May 8, 2014 - 6:27 pm

    I’ve read this saga with a breaking heart. As a 20-year public school veteran I can tell you most teachers I know are as devastated by the changes in education as you are. I have three awful teacher stories I could share, I’ve done so on my blog over the years, but most of my teachers were amazing. Most of my teachers inspired creativity and challenged me to do more, be more.
    Thank God I didn’t attend school today.
    Politicians and businessmen have turned our schools into factories, and teachers are hamstrung by the control. They either make sure the boxes are marked or they face losing their jobs. Pay raises are determined by those boxes. School funding is based on those boxes. And while Spawn isn’t in a school controlled by the boxes, he is in a school that models itself in some ways on those boxes thus the whole conference where the boxes came into play.
    The sad part of this: our current Education Secretary WANTS more boxes. He’s a firm believer in pre-K testing. And merit pay for teachers.
    Over the last five years I’ve watched as amazing teachers race to retirement because their creativity in the classroom has been stifled. Most teachers I know are stretched so thin they can’t fight anymore. So they report for duty and they look at their prepared curriculum and they read their scripts and they check the boxes or they don’t check the boxes and tremble because an unchecked box means they’re not doing their jobs.
    I was a late reader. Boxes went unchecked for me. But my teacher wasn’t docked for it. She was praised for the independent work she did with me to help me become a reader.
    Today I’m not sure what would happen. I do know those boxes aren’t cheap. Schools are paying plenty–because politicians tell them they must–to be able to tell you which boxes are checked and which aren’t. And money that should be spent on real student achievement is headed to a company that cares about one thing–profits–and the political lobbyists they pay to make sure we keep painting by numbers and checking boxes.
    I hate that you’ve gone through this. I’m so glad you’ve insulated Spawn from the negativity and refused to give in to the box. I wish all students had parents who could protect them the same way.
    Hugs.

  23. #25 by Diana Beebe on May 8, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    Such fabulous news! I’m glad it went well. Spawn is brilliant, and a good teacher will recognize that. I told my daughter’s teacher about Spawn’s evaluation. She thinks he’s gifted and bright, and she would love to have a kid like him in her class. And then we remembered how often my daughter used to hide under the table in kindergarten.

    Big hugs to you. I’ve been there with two creative introverts.🙂

  24. #26 by Linda on May 8, 2014 - 7:10 pm

    I think Spawn sounds perfectly wonderful and well adjusted. He is also very lucky to have parents like you to nurture his spawnness and not make him stuff it away.🙂

  25. #27 by Lisa on May 8, 2014 - 8:22 pm

    This just makes me glad my parents left the US and brought me to New Zealand when I was 5. I don’t think we had this redoing a year thing you guys had. I don’t know anyone that had to repeat a year. I did get made to stand in the hall way a lot too though. They do that in New Zealand.

  26. #28 by ponymartini on May 8, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    You are teaching your son all of the right things. It’s too bad the school doesn’t take your curriculum as its core.

  27. #29 by shawn m on May 8, 2014 - 10:15 pm

    When she asked, “What would happen if Spawn was lost in the store?” I thought two things 1) what do 6 month olds do by this litmus test, AND 2) when was the last time either of these teachers were in a gun store. THEY AREN’T BIG ENOUGH TO LOSE KIDS EVEN IF YOU WANT TO.

  28. #30 by iamccsmith on May 8, 2014 - 10:18 pm

    ^ Really awesome Ted Talk talking about the power of introversion.

  29. #31 by Kathleen Azevedo on May 8, 2014 - 11:05 pm

    Your son looks and sounds precious!
    Enjoy his early childhood. it is a magical time.
    The litmus for sanity is humor. Both of you have this in spades.
    I worry more about those who don’t get you or your son than I do for you!

  30. #32 by Emily Heart on May 8, 2014 - 11:18 pm

    This post made me laugh, so glad you aren’t apologizing for being who you are, both as a family and individuals. Your son sounds awesome and interesting. I’m also with you on the ‘introvert isn’t another word for shy’ argument. People are shocked to find I’m introverted because I’m confident and not socially awkward at parties. I’m just really good at hiding the fact that I’d rather be at home with a coffee in one hand a book in the other, or lets face it a decent tv show. Actually even a mediocre tv show is preferable to a large party of people.

  31. #33 by ontyrepassages on May 8, 2014 - 11:27 pm

    I’m glad it went sufficiently well. It doesn’t seem like the school system, or any other system, has a clue what introverts are because they label them as everything else. I get along with people quite well, but I MUST have my “me time.”

  32. #34 by moxeyns on May 9, 2014 - 2:33 am

    Getting them to listen – TWICE – sounds a major win! And he might get some alone time without hassle now.

  33. #35 by Lina on May 9, 2014 - 5:59 am

    LOL “you’re in my spot.” I used to be a pre-k teacher, and I couldn’t believe what they had to learn before kindergarten! I remember learning all of that stuff IN kindergarten. I also agree that shy is not the same as introvert. I am absolutely not shy, will talk to anyone, but I would rather be by myself or with my little family at home.

  34. #36 by Glynis Jolly on May 9, 2014 - 7:10 am

    I went as far as having my son psychologically evaluated at a university. The conclusions were interesting. He’s listed as a “non-conventional thinker”, which means he doesn’t come up with a conclusion in the way most people do and what he deems valuable in life is not necessarily the same as most people. His IQ is in the low 150s and he has a photographic memory, which makes things even a little more confusing. I couldn’t afford the private school that would have given him just what he needed (“go at your own speed”) so he dropped out of school when he was 16, took the equivalent test without studying, and passed with flying colors. What was so aggravating about the public schools he attended was that they thought he needed classes where things were going slower. Idiots!

  35. #37 by Holly on May 9, 2014 - 7:39 am

    Haha! Love your version of the test! I did not thrive at school and always knew that I would not put my children into mainstream state education unless I had to. They attend a Montessori one and a half days a week (so I can work in peace!) and are otherwise home educated. I love Montessori, it’s a system that embraces the whole child as a unique individual and education unfolds at the child’s pace. As far as home ed goes, we are totally autonomous, follow no curriculum or timetable and allow the kids to be free. My five year old might not be reading or writing yet (it’s not actually natural for kids to do so until more like 6-7 if not later any way but schools in the UK seem to think they should be forced to do things early in order to get ahead of the competition, erm… no. Just no.) but he can kick a$$ on xbox games, build anything he can imagine out of Lego and climb a tree like a pro. Let kids be kids and let them be themselves.

  36. #38 by saundrafox on May 9, 2014 - 8:07 am

    I have none to add to this, other than to say that by the sound of it, you have a wonderful family life and that The Spawn seems happy and quite the clever boy.
    What more do teachers\clever people in white coats need?

  37. #39 by Orlando on May 9, 2014 - 8:26 am

    Hi Kristen,
    Great post! I agree most schools are biased against ceeative introverts. Im a wtiter and my wife loves the arts. So we supplement what the school cant or wont do by doing it at home. One of the things we do is the ongoing story. Each night we pick a locale, and the kids give me a setting and a conflict. Using characters they have established. Then I start asking the what if questions and they run with it. Just doing this has unlocked their desire to pursue other artistic endeavors like painting and photography. Occasionally I will hear them whisper to each other, what if…it’s awesome.

  38. #40 by Ekaterine Xia (@katjexia) on May 9, 2014 - 11:05 am

    This was hysterical and inspiring. I’m a creative introvert myself and I kind of dread the thought of children and the System. But you’ve given me hope that it’s doable without severely damaging or traumatizing both myself and the offspring.

  39. #41 by Julie Glover on May 9, 2014 - 11:12 am

    This was terrific, Kristen! My family of four are all imaginative introverts, so I got a lot of this.

    I also think this is why so many introverts I know have those one or two teachers that they practically worship for being so utterly awesome — because someone actually GOT them. I definitely remember those teachers who encouraged my learning and yes, my acclimation to the way the world is, while still respecting my differences and allowing me to be me. The world would be so boring if we were all the same, whether extroverted/introverted, feet-on-the-ground/head-in-the-clouds, etc. We need everyone’s talents and contributions. Remember, everyone? We chose the side of the Federation (willing cooperation and respect), not the Borg.

    Oh, and I’m still waiting for the names of the Beatles to show up on a STAAR test. My kids would rock that question, and I think that’s something every kid should know.😉

  40. #42 by Catherine Johnson on May 9, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    He sounds much more savvy than me lol. I must admit when we’ve had issues they were open to moving my son about in different spots in the class to see if he concentrated better but I still think the old school everyone with their own desk maybe just next to one person is better for introverts than all this communal desk nonsense. Both my son and I have distraction issues in class😉

  41. #43 by heidiannehood on May 9, 2014 - 5:45 pm

    I love this… again!! And p.s. my son can also quote from The Big Bang… my little 3-year-old walks around saying bazinga!😉

  42. #44 by Matthew Wright on May 9, 2014 - 5:53 pm

    Sounds like US education system is little different from the NZ one – jam the square peg into the round hole, ‘normal’ is to be extroverted, and anybody who isn’t becomes a ‘problem’ to be ‘fixed’. As you say, ‘punished for being different’. Sigh…

  43. #45 by Thomas Weaver on May 9, 2014 - 6:08 pm

    I was actually labeled “mentally retarded” for a while as a child because I’m introverted. Apparently this is seen as more of a problem with little boys, because any male child who prefers reading books over, say, standing in the middle of a room and screaming for no apparent reason must have something wrong with him, right? *shakes head* Schools are definitely biased against introverts, as well as anyone else who doesn’t fit the mold they’re determined to force us all into. The truth is, public schools are intended not to turn out people who can think, but people who will be “good workers” and not object to being shoved into a pigeonhole. (I have a degree in education; I do sort of have a clue about things like this. I also decided after a very short time in that profession that I couldn’t BE a teacher because I couldn’t force myself into the pigeonhole, much less do the same to all those kids.)

  44. #46 by Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage on May 9, 2014 - 7:09 pm

    I think this is one of my favorite posts ever.

  45. #47 by Becky Fyfe on May 10, 2014 - 4:19 am

    This reminds me of when my oldest was young. In one parent-teacher conference, it was mentioned that she “didn’t work well in groups.” This was because she, at nine years old, was worried about others “getting credit” for her ideas or “stealing” her ideas.🙂

    • #48 by Author Kristen Lamb on May 10, 2014 - 7:42 am

      LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Formula for a future mad scientist, super-villain or author, LOL

  46. #49 by Miriam Joy on May 10, 2014 - 10:06 am

    I’m a pretty creative person. That is to say, I’ve been telling stories and writing ‘books’ since I was old enough to write. I didn’t exactly inherit that from my parents: I come from a family of musicians-by-hobby and sensible-humans-by-career who have been academic and clever for generations, so maybe that’s why I got through school okay.

    Despite being weird, creative, and somewhat precocious, I’m eighteen and just about to leave a perfectly normal school career. It’s had its moments of suckiness, and I’ve spent plenty of time ranting about the fact I can’t just write novels instead of standardised exams, but the fact is that however much I’ve resented it, school has at least taught me to meet deadlines, tolerate people I can’t stand, and work in situations that make me uncomfortable. Okay, so there were a bunch of anxiety attacks along the way, but I was probably better off sticking it out for fourteen years than being allowed to do whatever I wanted, because no matter how much I hate socialising, it’s kind of something you have to learn. Anyway.

    Not sure what the point of this comment was. I guess it was just that even though schools are biased towards people who fit a particular set of criteria and work in a particular way, even people who don’t entirely work in that box can get through it and pick up some life skills on the way.

  47. #50 by symplysilent on May 10, 2014 - 11:14 am

    I know you fully understand Myers Briggs. 75% of the word is extroverted. 75% of the world is SJ in work style. The Extroverted SJ’s now run education. And they are determined to cure the introverts and the NTs. Either that, or classify they as ADHD and drug them.

    Wow. That was dark, wasn’t it?

    Silent

  48. #52 by CCKoepp on May 10, 2014 - 1:21 pm

    😀 I’m glad you were able to get the school to see your perspective … at least partially. I recently came out of the Borg Collective … er … public school system. Doing /much/ better now. The indoctrination is becoming rather intense.

  49. #53 by Andrea on May 10, 2014 - 3:31 pm

    Another great post. I have read Susan Cain’s “Quiet”, she describes how we live in a system that praises extroversion, but that we need introverts. She also talks about education, and some of the things you talk about, made me think of her book. She also has a great talk on TED.com Being different is a good thing. PS I love Zombies.

  50. #54 by Kathleen Azevedo on May 10, 2014 - 8:55 pm

    Well, am an extraverted introvert, pretty much right down the middle. I have the social skills, and when I was young and very naïve (ahem!) I loved people and even some groups.
    But I needed my downtime and time to be alone even then.
    Now, I find that I tend to prefer my own company; at this stage I can trust me not to sabotage myself, which is more than I can say about many people.

    And now that I am writing, I love having time to do my reading, thinking, brainstorming and daydreaming (this word must be in the job description of anyone working in a creative field- even Einstein and Michio Kaku- see, science is a creative field, too.)

    Face it, ordinary people are boring.
    Can you imagine trying to slog through the bio of a very ordinary, average person.
    See, we give people something to write about!

  51. #55 by Jessica on May 11, 2014 - 12:18 am

    Best test ever. Bonus points for everyone who knew the answers to all the questions, teehee.

    Yes, I agree schools are biased against introverts. Even more so, extroverts are biased against introverts in general. And we constantly make an effort to make them happy (i.e. learning to act like an extrovert), but I’ve seen far fewer extroverts try to act make us happy (i.e. learning to act like an introvert). I constantly have to explain (to my own family) that I’m not avoiding them, I’m not mad at them, I’m just TIRED of talking to them. Give me a couple hours, and I will be all set to play another round of charades. Just a couple hours. Alone. By myself. Please.

    Plus, when I’m interacting with people, I always prefer the artist over the quarterback😉

    Maybe we should all move to the east. I hear it is opposite over there. Introverts are highly valued and extroverts are seen as eccentric and weird. I could be wrong, but that’s what I’ve heard.

    The Spawn sounds like an amazing kid. I can only hope my own kids (when I have them) are as delightfully nerdy and imaginative as yours. Good luck to him, and good luck to you, madam tiger. Keep Zombie Robot alive.

  52. #56 by Yummers914 on May 11, 2014 - 3:16 am

    Reblogged this on Yummers914.

  53. #57 by M T McGuire on May 11, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Loved this and I’m glad the comments helped.

  54. #58 by PattiH on May 11, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    Just wanted to let you know I loved these last two posts. Describes my family almost perfectly (as we have two boys who are very different from each other as well as the rest of the world). I was able to game the testing, while also spending an inordinate amount of class time either “running errands for the teacher” or just chatting with the principal, just to keep me from disturbing the rest of the class.
    As for singing a song from memory, I just have to share that my oldest knew all the words to Uncle John’s Band by 3 years old, and serenaded fellow grocery shoppers as long as they would hang around to listen! I miss those days, he’s in hs now and “screaming” his own lyrics.

  55. #59 by patriciaawoods2013 on May 12, 2014 - 11:23 am

    Holy Zombie Robot! I am sending this to my own baby girl about her Zombie Robot. Hmmmm great conspiracy in education for conformity. This is funny but right on target. We introverts are clearly discriminated against, creatives aren’t necessarily welcomed, and schools seek total robotic behavior. So baby girl homeschools her kids. These posts are so helpful to all of us who are “different” and whose children and grandchildren are “different.” Intelligent, creative, introverted children do not fare well in the public schools because the structure is designed to produce uniform thought. Heaven help us. On a personal note, I’m so HAPPY to find out I’m not the only writer who seems peculiar to the rest of the world. But then, I really don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. Some folks like Survivor, some of us like BBT. Vive la difference! Thanks for the timely thoughts and sharing. You are a treasure… no matter how many villains you dispatch into Zombieland.

  56. #60 by Raani York on May 12, 2014 - 6:20 pm

    What a great post, Hilarious.🙂 Thanks for sharing this!!

  57. #61 by shad0wrav3n2014 on May 14, 2014 - 5:32 pm

    I like your test better. I would have scored genius if they tested me like that. I likely believe my own son would too. Luckily, i try my best to foster creativity along with order despite the “norm”. I hate that word btw, normal is banned from my vocabulary and that of my closest friends. Seriously, no joke. Its banned, with the threat to decapitation after imprisonment in my dungeon.

  58. #62 by jccassels on May 18, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    I needed this right now. My son is just like me and his teachers are not prepared to deal with him either. Thanks for the laugh and for letting me know that I am not alone!

  59. #63 by jccassels on May 18, 2014 - 1:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Gotta Name My Blog and commented:
    One of the reasons BARRON’S LAST STAND is making such slow progress is because I’m having similar issues with my second born and his school. I wish his teachers and the school administrators would read this post

  60. #64 by Diana Ranslam on June 3, 2014 - 5:10 pm

    All 12 years were like having a bleading wound that never healed. College was much better as I was able to tailor my schedule and work in breaks. Why this isn’t appropriate for K-12 is a mystery to me.

  61. #65 by Random comentator 52 on July 1, 2014 - 6:17 pm

    I laughed like crazy when I read this! I think you should start a blog of just The Spawn/ Zombie Robots ad the things he says and does!🙂

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