Don’t worry, I’m not insulting home schooled students, because I had the super-hero mindset until a fateful day twelve years ago. However, where do home schooled students get this “super-hero” mentality where they believe they can do anything and perhaps even do no wrong?
Well, their biggest model is their parents, and their parents were the ones who chose to go against the system and educate their children themselves. Why wouldn’t these kids think they can do anything!?
In traditional schools, the “superhero” belief gets knocked out of many students through peer mocking and rejections, or teacher feedback; then many students focus in on what they are good at and don’t try doing things they might not be good at. (This saddens me because I like trying new things; sometimes I fail, but the broadening of my mind and life is worth it!)
One element that adds to this mindset, it that home schooled students can have a smaller community to compare themselves to, so it is the phenomena of “Big fish in a small pond.” Once they grow up and see all the people out there that are not like them and that don’t care about them, then the “superhero” mentality gets muted to a healthy level.
From my experience of being a “Big fish in a small pond,” I didn’t have many nay-sayers growing up (I got the opposite: lots of praise from adults), and if I did get a negative response, I just kept going. My superhero mindset received a healthy moderation and dose of reality one November day twelve years ago when I did something I thought I, the wise home schooled student, would NEVER do.
I had hung out with friends the night before, not sleeping as much as usual and my brain showed that; I got caught up on focusing on an open spot along the edge of the parking lot. The lot also had a driveway to the welding/ floral design classrooms and a place where drivers picked up Meals on Wheels (food deliveries for people who are shut in). As I drove into the campus to attend my floral design class, I fixated on that open spot and turned toward it right into a van full of food.
Dazedly I saw my red hood bend up toward me, heard scraping of metal, then the cursing at me started.
That guy was cursing at me!? I had been such a good girl I had never had someone tell me off like that before. It shocked me. This accident introduced me to another side of the adult world.
We exchanged information, and the accident cost me money; however, it taught me that I, too, make mistakes that hurt others.
I, too, can pay for the consequences of my actions and learn from it.
I, too, am part of this imperfect world and don’t have to be perfect to be loved.
As I processed these revelations, I sat under a comforting, leavy tree, crying and then accepting my humanity: I wasn’t a super-hero after all. I was human like everyone else. What a relief.
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014