My Dad used to always tell me crazy stuff when I was growing up. One time when I was 8 years old, I got mad and went and sat on our curb. My Dad walked toward me, stood over me and said, “get up, a car is going to run you over and I’m not going to clean up the blood.” But one of my favorite things he told me was a story about his perspective on bad grades.
I was worried one day on my way home from school because I received a horrible grade from a teacher. I knew I would have to show my Dad eventually. My Dad was a disciplinary man. And I got spanked a lot during my childhood. Not ever out of anger or hate. My Dad was patient. He always calmly told me, “Go to your room, I’ll be there in a second.” My room was scary during those times. I just had white walls with no posters, a blanket on my window (later in life I got knock off Mickey Mouse curtains), not Pendleton because those were expensive. The room was in the middle of the house, north facing, and was always dark. My room had an old brown fan that wobbled and felt like it was barely hanging on by an electrical wire and fastener. I would move a chair to the middle of the room, and wait for my Dad. That’s why I didn’t want to tell him about my grades, because I knew what was about to happen.
When I worked up enough courage, I showed him my paper. To my surprise my Dad told me, “JD it’s Okay.” He went on to share a story, “There was a kid who used to get these kinds of grades as well. In fact, one day, he brought one home to his Mom. His Mom asked him how come he got a “0” on his paper?” The son told his Mom, “Well, Mrs. Wong ran out of stars, so she had to give me the moon.” He finished our conversation by saying, “JD we may not be “A” students, but we are moon students. Don’t be afraid of failure when you try, and your perspective will keep you going.” The words allowed me to see the value of my culture, and never fear failing in life.
Then my Dad spanked me.