Yesterday I rode a very crowded 10 bus downtown to my acupuncture appointment. I sat next to a 20-year-old kid who struck up a conversation with me. I was reading junk mail from the College I attended and he was interested. He went to a high school on the North side, the same one my dad graduated from. This kid was bright. Not just smart, but bright. “Do you go to College?” I asked him. “Nobody told me about College until I was in 12th grade. I didn’t even know what it was. By then my grades were so bad that no college would let me in. They told me I wasn’t college material. So now I work all the time.” he said.  He has his first child coming next month. He said, “Working or Babysitting. That’s what my life will be.” We talked like peers, which he never would have done if I wasn’t on the 10 bus with him. “You gotta get this straight, man. You can’t call it babysitting. When it is yours, it’s just parenting,” I told me. “Yeah,” he smiled at me. “That’s cool.”

When are we going to stop discounting kids? Who decided this kid wasn’t college material?  Kids always become what we expect them to be. A father at 20.  With a high school education.   I told him not to give up hope for college. I expect this kid to do great things. I hope that he sees that he still can.

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