View Full Version : Doing Away With It

01-11-2005, 02:56 PM
What's up, ya'll? Glad to finally be able to post to the Culture board! :D

There's something really weighing on my mind this morning; as I got up to clean up, I turned on Dr. Phil who was talking with Samuel L. Jackson and the real Coach Ken Carter about the must-see movie coming out this Friday "Coach Carter". I'm a Samuel L Jackson fan so I know I'll definitely be seeing it! At the same time, the show really hit home b/c it was talking about the importance of academics among a strong athletically influenced generation of young people.

I have a 17 year old brother who's a jr. in high school; my brother is bad, ya'll! He's got the speed, the stamina, the passion, the drive, and determination for his sports. (What can I say? He gets it from his sister! :P ). He's a local HS football & track star with the potential to do great things in sports. However, his grades are nowhere near passing. He brought home his report card from this past nine weeks and he's failing three classes. Our parents are so frustrated with him and with our father getting ready to go to Afghanistan, it's going to be even more strenuous on mom. He's excellent on the football field, basketball court, and track, but in the classroom, he's so passive, so non-chalant.

And the unfortunate truth is he's following in my own footsteps! :doh I had a track scholarship to a great university, but could not have it honored b/c I was 1/10 of a point off from the required GPA for Division I sports...yet, instead of using that experience (a grave experience) as a stepping stone, I let that nearly kill my drive for life. It wasn't that I was incapable of passing class with excellent grades and it wasn't that my parents didn't parent me...but for the four years of high school, I always seemed to just get by and getting by was my M.O.

College is a totally different M.O.! So now, at the age of 23, getting back on my feet academically, starting to work out regularly and start running again, with a new leash, appreciation, direction, and perspective on life, seeing my brother's academic passiveness is worrying me to the core! He's always gotten by in high school, but even my own grades weren't as bad as his are now...and our mom is so frustrated that she's tired so it's like she won't stick to the disciplinary tactics that both of our parents tightly adhered to when I was coming along! Part of it makes me angry that they've been so lenient with him than they were with me...and so I've been accused of trying to be Mama.

It's almost ironic...he doesn't want me actively involved in his academic life by going to his school and talking with his teachers and guidance counselors, yet he doesn't argue when they go and have parent-teacher conferences! :unsure:

I understand growing pains; heck, I'm just 23! I still have them! At the same time, I know that at the college level, there is no such thing as remedial level. You're either on the college level, which he is VERY capable of, or you're not. You can't just go to a resource class, do a few problems, write out a few grammatically correct sentences, read a few passages without stuttering in your speech, and get an A. Grades in college have to be earned...and any great instructor/professor/teacher will push you to expound on answers and won't always teach straight from the textbook.

I have VERY creative ways for getting my brother back on track. ;) But my mom thinks they are too harsh and then asks me who am I to even suggest such things b/c I had to fail college twice before finally getting back on steady feet! The kinds of problems I want him to have when he graduates from HS is having SO many colleges and universities offering him scholarships that he can't even decide on which one to go to! I want him to have options, not being forced into a corner like I allowed myself to be. True, my road taught me so much, but as his sister and as the oldest of the two, I also believe that it's my responsibility to let him know that his ship is getting ready to crash ashore if he doens't redirect his rudder!

Anybody got any other advice or similar experiences?

Thanks, all...just had to kinda let that vent out!

01-12-2005, 06:12 PM
I agree with you. I had a similar experience with my brother. I was the one who made the grades in school and he was not. I tried to encourage him as much as I could, but he would always be told that it's ok that his grades weren't as good as mine because he wasn't as smart as I was. That wasn't true. I believed that my brother was and he never did. I think that its great that your brother is great with physcially activities, but why not be fast on the track and furious in the classroom.

I wish I new where my brother was so that I could tell him that I believed and still do believe in him. I wish he believed in himself.

If you can influence your brother to continue with both academics and sports, then do. Why should he waste such wonderful talent. Its great that you care enough to want to help him. Much success to you both. ^_^

01-12-2005, 11:04 PM
Everybody is not cut out for the academic track. I think sometimes, culturally, we get caught up in being black and having something to prove, to the point that we think everybody is supposed to take the same road. It would be difficult for family to assess whether or not academics was really not his thing or if he was just being lazy, a professional would have to do that. An UNBIASED educator who's not coming into the game already having a negative opinion of black students.

As long has he can channel the talents he posesses into a viable living for himself, there's no need to pressure someone who is not academically inclined to get good grades when it's not "their thing." There are a lot of people on this board, and in the world, with good grades who can't really make a decent living. There are plenty of ways he can utilize his athletic talents without the obvious, over pushed, goal of playing professional sports.

I think that we have two problems:

There is an excessive push for young black males to play professional sports to the point where it is often detrimental to the men. You have a lot of people with a talented kid who can only think about "going pro" when that really is only a reality for a very small segment of the *qualified* athletes.

Then you have this running belief in the black community that a college education is the answer to every problem. Yet you have millions of college educated people who can't solve any of their problems.

One of the things we lack in our communities and families is the support for alternative careers. The reason people often think that white people can get away without going to college and we can't is because they are more likely to have a support system in place whereas we think college is the answer. We are not at a point of (culturally) having enough knowledge of jobs/careers/business opportunities to respect and support children who follow non traditional paths. We don't know how to guide our children except to say "go to college" and even then, follow with the "and be a doctor or a lawyer" because our (cultural) knowledge of career/business opportunities is extremely limited.

HOWEVER, I have known many people from other cultures to have the ability to excel in a non-traditional career because their family/ support network knew how to channel and support that. They had family and associates working in non-traditional careers that could provide information and guidance. It's a different experience.

It's hard to say what to do with your brother because you never stated what the goal was. Whether the goal is to try to make it in professional sports or to go to college and get a free education. You can't guide someone without knowing where they are going, what the end goal is.

01-13-2005, 12:50 AM
Everybody may not be cut out for the academic track, but it doesn't sound like AJoy's brother has a reason to be failing HIGH SCHOOL classes except for lack of will.

I understand that he's young and can't really look far into the future right now, but high school? Right now, that's his one responsibility.

sorry, can't offer any advise, but can sympathize. I have a sister who is naturally smart but lazy?/uninterested? and she pisses me off with her low grades because I do well because i work hard and i think she could be doing more for herself.

you should continue to talk to him, but ultimately, he might just have to make his own mistakes and learn from them.

01-13-2005, 01:13 AM
I agree that everyone isn't cut out to be an academic genious. When people are extremely gifted in one area, it is hard for them to be gifted or even just good in another. My older brother was a basketball wiz in high school, but his grades were crazy low. Not that he wasn't smart, he just couldn't ever get ove the hump of trying to be the best ball player he could be.

I never really ahd the gift for sports (unless you count cheerleading which I was really good at), I did the academic thing. Even on that note, I write, but I can't balance a check book to save my life adn it took me two times to pass Algebra II. So long story short, I DO think that it is possible to pass your classes but everyone is not cut out to have exceptional grades.
I wonder how good Michael Jordan or Donte Culpepper's grades were. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

01-13-2005, 03:30 AM
Two things you're probably not going to want to hear.

The first is his future probably isn't in sports. Maybe things are different down there, but I've never met an athlete that's a asset to his/her school EVER failing. Schools bend rules for their 'star' athletes to ensure they stay on the team. Schools benefit too much from having good athletics programs to let such resources go to waste. I've met guys that were dumb as bricks getting decent grades and pretty much skating through high school on handouts. This continues on the college level. My brother played football and he told me he had tutors doing most all of his assignments that he found to be challenging.

Now if he is as good as you say and he's still failing, he's either incredibly stupid, which again you say he's not, or incredibly lazy.

You say your parents take it too easy on him. Since you see which direction things are heading, you should take things into your hands if you feel you are capable regardless of what your parents may think. He may hate you for it now, but most certainly will be grateful later when he looks back upon the situation. Hopefully your method of motivating him will be effective.

01-13-2005, 05:59 AM
Everybody may not be cut out for the academic track, but it doesn't sound like AJoy's brother has a reason to be failing HIGH SCHOOL classes except for lack of will.

Let me ask you this: If you're not trying to go to college, or you are going to get in with the bare minimum GPA, what other purpose do good grades in high school serve?

Sometimes people need to be motivated by a purpose.

01-13-2005, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by charli@Jan 13 2005, 02:59 AM
Let me ask you this: If you're not trying to go to college, or you are going to get in with the bare minimum GPA, what other purpose do good grades in high school serve?

Sometimes people need to be motivated by a purpose.


I totally agree about the actual high school GPA not serving a purpose in life if you're not using it to compete in the college admissions process. The other thing is that the basic skills that you'll need to learn in high school to maintain a decent job, get promotions, and above average evaluations may be reflected in your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.

I used to hear students say all the time "Why do I need English..Why do I need this class or that class".. I'm guilty of having said it myself when I was in high school. The only thing is that if you're not too clear on how to conjugate the verb "to be" or how to figure out what the price of something is if it's 33% off the already discounted price, you may not be too marketable when trying to get into management training, even at Big Kmart.

I also agree that everybody is not cut out for college, and that there are so many other avenues that people need to explore. It's not the answer for everybody. Honestly, I think that even people who do go to college need a trade to fall back on. The job market is too competitive these days to not have something that you can do if you get laid off from that big time dream job.

The only thing that some high school atheletes don't understand is that most people don't walk up to the NBA and say "I want to fill out and application to be a pro basketball player". It's not an option if you're not planning to go to college. Saying that to someone is not meant to discourage, crush dreams, or be harsh. It's just the truth. If you're not going to college, you need to be learning how to do oil changes and tire rotations or you'll find yourself in a bind financially.