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calebsmom
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09 Sep 2010, 9:51 am

My 14 yr old sent me this email today and I was wondering if anyone can help me make some sense of it. I don't know if it has to do with me being on medical leave so long and money being tight and maybe he is feeling the pressure or worry over me or a combination of things. Sounds like he is having friend issues ( that is who Scott is) and confidence issues too. I don't know? Here is a copy of the email below.
Please help me understand where he is coming from.

Caleb's Mom
____________________
No work, no food. I don't deserve what I am unable to earn. It's fair.

I haven't finished working for good grades, and the work has stopped. The work is depressing. Scott's work greater than mine, and he completes it well. My work is less, and I choke on it. Because of this, he has more intellectual assets than me.
He has more capital. I am in the lowest of classes, though still excused to contribute what I can to the highest class. I have opportunity without ability, and I am ashamed of my uselessness. Scott's assets grow as I continue to degrade. Scott takes no responsibility for the intellectual welfare of the peasants by not giving intellectual charity. I'm a lumpenproletarian without honor and he's a capitalist without justice.

This sucks. I'm unfulfilling. Who will fulfill me? Nobody. No shared showers, no "cuddly camping," no production, no usefulness, no hugging, no pats on the back, no kissing, no holding, no helping each other, no smiling, and no belonging. No invitation for indulging in the physical and emotional pleasures from a love-puppy :-(

If life were not fair, people would give to anyone including those who don't deserve it. If life were unfair, it'd be fair. :-(

Their family has stable job(s) and luxuries without being ashamed of them. :-( Jerks.

I kvetch la'olam. I complain forever.



Last edited by calebsmom on 09 Sep 2010, 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

DW_a_mom
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09 Sep 2010, 11:28 am

I'm not sure where the email starts and where it ends? What are sentiments from your son and what you may have responded? Also, replacing the name Scott with his relation to your son ("my brother" "my friend") would make more sense to readers who don't know the players.


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calebsmom
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09 Sep 2010, 2:15 pm

DW_a_Mom,Sorry about that. My writing ends where I signed Calebs Mom. My sons email starts where it says "No work, no food". Scott is a friend of my son. So I don't know if he is having problems with him too or what?



buryuntime
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09 Sep 2010, 3:31 pm

He doesn't think he deserves to eat out of fairness because his schoolwork isn't on par with his friend's. He also seems to be rather confused about... dating and love? Maybe his friend has a girlfriend.



DW_a_mom
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09 Sep 2010, 5:05 pm

I see a child trying to justify a life he isn't thrilled with by his own lack of talents. A self-esteem issue. Depression, maybe; a cry for help?

He needs to understand that people develop their gifts differently, and that some gifts take time to come into their own. That not having obvious gifts today does not mean he will not have them tomorrow. He's frustrated, but it won't always be that way; he needs to understand that that, too, will change.

It does sound he's got a few hormone related concerns, too ... not sure what to say there. Reading the Love and Dating board here will give you an earful on what it can be like. But, again, he needs to understand that not being ready to be a full partner in a relationship today does not mean he won't be ready a bunch of years down the road.

This is an age where our kids seem to really start to feel the walls, and give serious thought to what their limitations may mean to their future lives. They are less willing to accept what we've told them on that; they are challenging it and not always coming up with optimistic answers. They are seriously wondering about what their place in the world will look like, and if their hard work with limited tools will actually make a difference. My son is 13 and a fairly optimistic child, but I see it already, the process, and the doubt, and the struggle to have what he believes are more "realistic" expectations (I'd rather he hold his dreams a lot longer, personally - - those who do well as adults don't downscale that far at 13 or 14).

Anyway, a little off an a tangent, but those are my thoughts.

It is a very poetic note, actually, with a lot of symbolism. He should know he has that gift. Beautiful and heart-achingly sad.


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leejosepho
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09 Sep 2010, 6:31 pm

calebsmom wrote:
I don't know if it has to do with ... money being tight ...

I doubt that. I think he is "thinking out loud" while doing several kinds of pondering and evaluating all at once.

calebsmom wrote:
Sounds like he is having friend issues ...

No specific personal conflict seems apparent here.

calebsmom wrote:
Sounds like he is having ... confidence issues ...
... maybe he is feeling ... over ... a combination of things.

Yes, many.

calebsmom wrote:
No work, no food. I don't deserve what I am unable to earn. It's fair.

In a simple and matter-of-fact way, he is viewing his grades (current or anticipated?) as fair and just.

calebsmom wrote:
I haven't finished working for good grades, and the work has stopped.

A factual report once again, but now we are moving toward more emotional thoughts and feelings.

Quote:
The [result I get from trying to do my] work is depressing.
Scott's work [is] greater than mine, and he completes it well.
My work is less, and I choke on it [and cannot complete it].
Scott's assets grow as I continue to degrade.
Because of this, [Scott] has more intellectual assets than me. He has more capital.

You son has somewhere picked up on the idea he needs to "measure up" to someone else's accomplishment.

Quote:
I am in the lowest of classes, though still excused to contribute what I can to the highest class.
I have opportunity without ability, and I am ashamed of my uselessness.

He is expressing the ironic thought of an undeserving pauper nevertheless being allowed to participate as a prince.

Quote:
Scott takes no responsibility for the intellectual welfare of the peasants by not giving intellectual charity [to them].

Possibly a simple observation in comparison to himself and/or possibly an assessment of (some of) Scott's personal character.

Quote:
I'm a lumpenproletarian without honor and he's a capitalist without justice.

Same kind of thing within more of a global perspective.

Quote:
This sucks. I'm unfulfilling. Who will fulfill me? Nobody.
No shared showers, no "cuddly camping," no production, no usefulness,
no hugging, no pats on the back, no kissing, no holding,
no helping each other, no smiling, and no belonging.
No invitation for indulging in the physical and emotional pleasures from a love-puppy :-(
Their family has stable job(s) and luxuries without being ashamed of them. :-( Jerks.

Someone would have to know your son fairly well and be free of bias to appropriately analyze those expressions of his thoughts/feelings.

Quote:
If life were not fair, people would give to anyone including those who don't deserve it. If life were unfair, it'd be fair. :-(

One of his views of the irony of it all as he sees things.

Quote:
I kvetch la'olam. I complain forever.



angelbear
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09 Sep 2010, 9:35 pm

It sounds like he is struggling with comparing himself to his friend or his peers. It sounds like he feels like he is not living up to his own expectations. It sound like he is struggling with his feelings of loneliness and uncertainty about relationships.

I feel sad for your son. But, I think that with your love and support, you can help him during this difficult time.

Your son definitely has a gift for poetry. Try to encourage that----



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09 Sep 2010, 10:09 pm

I may be wrong in my interpretation, or it may sound cruel, but this is how I understood the letter.
-------------
No work, no food. I don't deserve what I am unable to earn. It's fair. I haven't finished working for good grades, and the work has stopped. The work is depressing. Scott's work greater than mine, and he completes it well. My work is less, and I choke on it.
Scott has told me, "No Work, No Food". When I asked for an explination of this confusing catchphrase he explained that I can't cheat my homework off him, or even get his help anymore, because if I can't do something on my own, I don't deserve to have it done. And i can't do it on my own.
---
He has more intellectual assets than me. He has more capital. I am in the lowest of classes, though still [excused] to contribute what I can to the highest class. I have opportunity without ability, and I am ashamed of my uselessness.
He is more capable of the work demanded. I have less intellectual capital, thus I am of a lower class of peoples. I am here by the grace of kindness, amongst those of higher intellect. I am in a classroom of an educational level I ought not to have made it to. Scott is successful in his home/classwork while I can't manage it. It shames me that I am here, that I am unable.
---
Scott's assets grow as I continue to degrade. Scott takes no responsibility for the intellectual welfare of the peasants by not giving intellectual charity. I'm a lumpenproletarian without honor and he's a capitalist without justice.
Scott grows in his ability to deal with school. He refuses to support me by beginning to / continuing to 'do' my homework for me / with me. I am low, and he accusses me of looking for a free ride. He is high, and sees not my situation.
---
This sucks. I'm unfulfilling. Who will fulfill me? Nobody. No shared showers, no "cuddly camping," no production, no usefulness, no hugging, no pats on the back, no kissing, no holding, no helping each other, no smiling, and no belonging. No invitation for indulging in the physical and emotional pleasures from a love-puppy
Sounds like Scott's got a new ladyfriend. Your son envies him. It also may be that the girlfriend is taking up the time that was once the boys' homework time
---
If life were not fair, people would give to anyone including those who don't deserve it. If life were unfair, it'd be fair.
Should make sense based on previous statements.
---
Their family has stable job(s) and luxuries without being ashamed of them. Jerks.
A statement in itself, has nothing specifically to do with any of the above. Scott and his family have great jobs and finances and all the luxuries because they had better chances in life, yet they don't appreciate it. This is the only truely bitter part of the letter
---
I kvetch la'olam. I complain forever.

------------
You should be proud your son feels comfortable sharing with you. You need to see if there is any 'time management' and tutoring service for him. Discover what courses he is having / last year had / the most trouble in.



MrXxx
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09 Sep 2010, 10:39 pm

I can't say for certain, but his letter really, REALLY resonated with me. I think he's being bitterly sarcastic. (Not that I am that way now, but I sure used to be)

calebsmom wrote:
No work, no food. I don't deserve what I am unable to earn. It's fair.


A statement of how he has learned the world is, but probably not as he thinks it should be.


calebsmom wrote:
haven't finished working for good grades, and the work has stopped. The work is depressing.


The work is not done, but I am. I'm sick of it.


calebsmom wrote:
Scott's work greater than mine, and he completes it well. My work is less, and I choke on it.


This seems obvious, but he's about to launch into a comparison of himself and Scott.


calebsmom wrote:
Because of this, he has more intellectual assets than me.
He has more capital. I am in the lowest of classes, though still excused to contribute what I can to the highest class. I have opportunity without ability, and I am ashamed of my uselessness. Scott's assets grow as I continue to degrade.


The comparison. Scott produces well, and thus reaps the benifits. I do not. (Sneaking some political commentary in there too, I see)


calebsmom wrote:
Scott takes no responsibility for the intellectual welfare of the peasants by not giving intellectual charity. I'm a lumpenproletarian without honor and he's a capitalist without justice.

This sucks. I'm unfulfilling. Who will fulfill me? Nobody. No shared showers, no "cuddly camping," no production, no usefulness, no hugging, no pats on the back, no kissing, no holding, no helping each other, no smiling, and no belonging. No invitation for indulging in the physical and emotional pleasures from a love-puppy :-(


This seems to be simple comparing again, the disparity of what those who do produce well get from life, and what those who do not produce well (himself) do not get. But he's going much deeper than speaking of monetary gain. He's comparing the social gain (and lack thereof). Scott is having a good social life. "Shared showers" should be pretty obvious. Scott is getting this stuff he's listing, he is not, and he seems to be attributing that to the differences in their productivity.

And, there is the political commentary again. He seems to have some VERY strong views about capitalism, which is frankly a huge part of what the letter is.


calebsmom wrote:
If life were not fair, people would give to anyone including those who don't deserve it. If life were unfair, it'd be fair. :-(


THERE is the biting sarcasm. At the beginning of the letter, he stated was was fair. Then went on to describe what is "fair" (according to "The World"). Now, he is pulling a double reverse logic statement.

Read that second sentence as meaning the following: "If life were unfair" really means, "If life were what these people called unfair" and "it'd be fair," means "it would be what I call fair."

He's using double reversal to make a satement about how backward the world's concept of fairness is.

We say in society, "If a man doesn't work, neither let him eat," which is actually borrowed from scripture. It's a concept of "fairness" that exists in our society. Don't work, don't eat. Don't work, don't reap the rewards.

And while this all seems logical on the face of it, he seems to be seeing something illogical about it.

"The work is depressing." Is the key statement to me. He seems to be saying he's stopped producing his work, because he feels no joy in it.

He seems to be deeply contemplating the question of how it could be fair to have to do what depresses him in order to get any pleasure from life.

He is seriously questioning society's concept of fairness. This isn't very uncommon for people falling into depression, or, for an Aspie who may or may not be depressed at least temporarily.


calebsmom wrote:
Their family has stable job(s) and luxuries without being ashamed of them. :-( Jerks.

I kvetch la'olam. I complain forever.


If the above stuff makes sense now, this last part should to. He sounds like he's beginning to think, or maybe has for a while, that life is NOT fair, and that those who DO have the ability to get even more than they need from life, should share it with those who can't.

He's only 14?! 8O

I think you have an INCREDIBLE writer on your hands! This letter is a really good poem in my opinion. I bet you have a political poet on your hands.

The fact that you have been out of work is likely part of it too, but I really don't think he's blaming you for anything. He's just making a biting commentary on societal norms.


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calebsmom
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10 Sep 2010, 9:00 am

Thanks to everyone that has helped me in understanding my son's email. MRXxx, you sound so much like how my son tries to analyze things. Sometimes, I think he over does it a little too much making him somewhat critical. The way you analyzed the way he see's the world and the way he feels it should be , hit the nail right on the head! He constantly talks to me about subjects like that.

Yes, he can be very sarcastic whether bitter or not. Thats sometimes the only way he can express himself.

I also want to thank everyone that thought he has some poetic tendencies. I have always been proud of my son and always will be! I would just like to see him be proud of himself more often because he has alot to be proud of.

After doing alot of talking to my son, I feel this is partially due to starting a new school year and new school. He always has some problems adjusting to the new of things. Now that he is a freshman in HS, he is feeling some pressures he hasn't had to deal with before. Honestly, the main reason he "feels" he is behind his peers in school work is because he always over researches things for term papers or speeches so much so he gets enthralled in them and doesn't make time for other work he may have. That I feel is an issue of coordinating his time.

MrXxx, I feel my son would benefit a little in talking with you. It sounds like you would understand where he is coming from.

Thanks All



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11 Sep 2010, 5:13 pm

Wow! It looks like he could grow up to be the next William Shakespeare, with writing and wording like that. 8O 8)


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11 Sep 2010, 5:49 pm

I'd missed the fact that he was 14! Reading it I thought he was a deep thinker and excellent writer in his early twenties. Fourteen! 8O



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12 Sep 2010, 8:55 pm

I think he is a gifted writer and profound thinker... and I'm not saying that out of kindness or exaggerating for your benefit. His mind is a treasure.

The downside of profound thinkers and gifted writers is that they tend toward depression and self-doubt. If you feel that he is experiencing a significant depression or anxiety, you may want to see if you can seek out some kind of talk therapy for him - CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) perhaps?

You have a very special son.


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