Friday Fictioneers: The Future Looks Bright

When Bobby was in the eighth grade he decided to quit school. He thought it was stupid. He just didn’t understand it. He couldn’t read and he wasn’t very good at writing. His teachers didn’t help him, they just got mad at him. He hated them.

He hated the other kids too. Sometimes they would make fun of him, but they only did it once. Bobby knew how to teach a kid a lesson.

His cousin offered him a job. He fronted him a bag of weed and told him what to do. Soon Bobby was the go-to man in the neighborhood. He felt his hate slipping away.

adamickes-boardwalk

This week’s photo: PHOTO PROMPT – © Adam Ickes

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly 100 word writing challenge inspired by a picture prompt. Click here to read other stories.
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I don’t often do this but I wanted to explain where this story came from. When I first looked at the picture I thought “The Future Looks Bright” (and even though my story changed somewhat from that first thought I am leaving the title).

I then went to check out facebook. My niece had posted pictures of my grand nephew on his first day of 6th grade. Another friend shared her excitement of beginning her 9th year of teaching today. I got to thinking how we start school so much earlier and its because of testing. We’ve fought this early start here in our county for years but will finally phase into it next year.

Some folks complain about testing and I see their points but I knew a man who was 13 in 1969 and quit school in the 8th grade. He couldn’t read or write but had never been held back. He was a trouble maker; got into a lot of fights.

I try not to judge, or preach, especially about things I know little about but you don’t get to this age without experiencing some of life, and although the world is far from perfect, we keep trying, and I am glad to see how far we have come.

On another note, my first story in March of 2014 was much different. I’ve come a long way too, it seems. It is here.

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37 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers: The Future Looks Bright

  1. Very interesting – you’ve managed successfully to make becoming a drug dealer a happy ending. Of course, it’s not happy, but you’ve given us an authentic picture of why this can be a route out for some kids

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  2. Here in New Zealand we start school on our 5th birthday. Some children are ready for school, many aren’t. My son is dyslexic and obviously had a hard time with the teachers. I would spend hours each night making him read. Now he is excelling at college doing a computer systems degree. But I can see how not learning to read or write can send someone down a different path. Great story Dawn

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  3. I read this, and I thought of my father – my Daddy- He was a young pre-teen in the mid 50’s. He was 12 when he had to drop out of school (after his Father was killed in an accident) to support the family. He lived his life working the tobacco fields, selling his Mother’s moonshine, and eventually became an overland truck driver. Daddy never could read well, rarely wrote more than his name. From it, I learned it’s not school that makes a man, but learning. Learning about living by living. I graduated high school (1st in 3 gens), I went to college… and for all that, I now consider it a waste of time and effort. I learned more working on the farm, caring for my family, and living life to its fullest than I ever did in school.

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  4. I seem to be the only one who sees the ‘drop out, what of it’ theme as extremely depressing. I think your story is an excellent example for the way our expectations and perspectives differ, and each take theirs for granted. Leaving school without having learned to read and write–I know it happens, but shame on the school.

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    • Exactly! People here complain about teachers having to teach to meet testing standards that grew from the initiative “No Chilc Left Behind” and I understand their point of view but I know someone who made it to the 8th grade without being able to read and write. clearly this initiative was needed.

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  5. I was a teacher. Testing works for some children and not for others .Problems in school are due to a number of things, physical and psychological. Some teachers actually wait an extra year before entering their own children in school. I went ahead and let my son start although he had a June birthday because he wanted to be with other children. He might have benefitted from waiting a year. When he graduated high school he did wait a gap year before beginning college. He realized he wasn’t ready. Some children are almost a year younger than their classmates and it makes a difference. —- Suzanne

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  6. Sounds like he found a lucrative career in herbal medicine.

    The really sad part to me was that no one cared enough during those early years to help him learn basic reading and writing (and probably arithmetic).

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