I have many nephews (5 to be exact) and 1 niece – all of which are Superstars in their own rights AND in their own ways. They are all great characters (it must be the Shill genes…) but every now and again one or even two of them leave me in a state of shock or wonderment at something they have achieved, gained or experienced.
Take Tyla for example. Tyla is NOT your average 14 year old. His appearance strikes you immediately – a skinny kid with a massive afro (frequently seen embedded with an afro comb) and a huge cheeky grin. Yes, he possesses all the usual teenager issues and attitudes BUT this is a kid, for example, that will put himself up to play netball ‘coz the girls dig it’ and not only play, but play well! His speech can drive you to distraction so laden is it with hip-hop slang, Chav speak and lazy english you could mistake this lad for an ignorant, vacuous yob until you spend more than 5 minutes talking to him and realise he’s doing it deliberately to wind you up, get your attention and amuse himself; attention, I may add, you gladly give because he is so amusing.
Now, last year was a bad year for Tyla. Sometimes this cheeky chappy just doesn’t know when to say no or when to put the brakes on his jovial ‘bad-self’. His friendship with several other notorious pupils keen to exploit his need for attention and acceptance coupled with his somewhat challenging attitude towards authority saw him get several suspensions and a near expulsion from school – one more offense and he was out and he had only just started the New Year! Now, this isn’t a bad kid, just an intelligent, bored kid with a real need for attention and recognition – he was just looking for it in the wrong place. His poor mother, along with the rest of us, held her breath ’til the end of the year when the slate would be wiped clean and he could start afresh.
And start afresh he did!
New teachers and a fresh start have seen him adjust his attitude, knuckle down and produce the goods… and oh has he produced the goods. Last Thursday his Mom popped in for her morning cuppa armed with a thick bright orange, dog-eared school book, a big grin and a request from Tyla to ‘show Aunty Andrea’ something special. The book it turns out was his Maths book from this year (September 08 – March 09). At first I was a little bemused but as I slowly turned the pages I realised that I couldn’t see a single cross anywhere in the book.
Not a single WRONG ANSWER in the entire book!
In fact, it was completely full of right answers, merits and ‘good skills marks’. Tons of them!
I have never seen anything like it! Neither has anyone else I have shown. I was so proud of him and so pleased for his poor Mom whose relief was evident.
A couple of years ago I rewarded his brother financially for producing a straight A’s school report so when I finally got to see the big man himself and commented on his maths book, his answer was simple, cheeky and to the point …
‘More birthday presents for me then Aunty Andrea!”
Yes, Tyla, most definitely more birthday presents for you!