I Studied, He Flunked

I Studied, He Flunked

Last week I wrote about my brother getting straight Fs. Yes, he honestly did that. 

As promised I will tell you the second lesson I learned from watching my brother and my Mom. You see, I was a good student, I had a great grade point average ... without much studying or without doing much homework. When I brought my report card home I wanted to hear, "Wow, Ali you did great congratulations. I am so proud of you!" Most of the time I got, "That is nice or good." 

When my brother brought home a report card with only one D and almost all C's my Mom was about to throw a party. She was excited and in a celebratory mood. I went to my room and slammed the door. This was a signal to my Mom; something was up. She came to my room and as she sat on my bed, I sobbed, " Why do you congratulate him for mediocre grades, and I get a ....whatever... answer for good grades?"  My Mom asked me, "Ali how hard do you work? How long have you lived with me?" I didn't answer. She continued to explain, " Ali school is easier for you, you have been raised by me for 15 years and Eric, on the other hand,  has only been a part of our family for five years. " You see before then my brother Eric had seen his Mom die, been in and out of foster homes and did not have my luxuries. I felt ashamed and sad. My Mom continued to tell me that regardless of my lack of understanding she did maybe neglect to congratulate me on a job well done. She told me that she thought I could do or be whoever and whatever I wanted to be and I still believe her. 

This story has always been on my mind. I often think about comparisons and how they are not easy to make and yes for someone a C is a reason to pop open some champagne while the next person a C would mean disaster, depression, the end of their ivy league aspirations.

Thank you, Eric, and thank you, Mom. I got it that day, and this lesson is forever in my mind when I converse with people from all areas and social standings in this world. And yes Mom, you gently reminded me that I was maybe not wealthy but indeed privileged. 

—Allison Ochs Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife