We calmed him down only to discover
that his teacher had informed him that he had to remove something from his
pedigree chart. His Grandpa Otis!
Here I need to back up for a minute
to explain my marital history. [Sheesh! The things we do for the sake of
forwarding genealogy education!] When Chris's mom was a little girl,
her father and I divorced. When I remarried, her new stepdad ...
Otis ... became the loving father in our household ... even though someone
else was the father-of-record. Despite the fact that he never was able to
legally adopt her, she was his daughter in every other sense of the word.
And when she had children they were his grandchildren
... as sure as anything could be! And they knew it!
It wasn't hard for them to
understand. They knew their mom had two fathers (actually, one father and
one dad) and they had two grandpa's. (On just one side of the family!) But
they had room in their lives and their hearts for two. It was simple to
Wrong! The teacher said that
since Otis was not a "blood" relative ... he could not be
included on Christopher's family chart.
Hooooboy! Not a good move.
Chris announced that if Otis couldn't be on his tree ... he wasn't going
to turn one in. Simple solution! If Otis wasn't on the tree ... it wasn't his
... and he wouldn't sign it or turn it in.
parent-teacher conference was really something. My daughter, who is
herself a teacher, felt compassion for the young student teacher. (After
all, she was only trying to do things the "right" way and going
by the book. She was too inexperienced to yet know that sometimes you have
to throw the book away to do the right thing.) Anyway, it was gently
pointed out that the number of children growing up in families that don't
look like the family in the Dick & Jane readers ...
is (usually very sadly) huge. We label those kids as somehow abnormal and
invalidate their own personal family structures if we teach that the
only "correct" family tree is one that looks like the
traditional pedigree chart.
Yes, if you are only tracing
"blood-lines" then DNA is what counts. But if you are
helping kids to represent their families and take a look at where they
come from ... love is what counts. Love would put Otis on
Christopher's family tree even if it could not look like a pedigree chart.
The outcome was brilliant! His tree
has more branches. Sure some of the lines were made a little different.
But Chris didn't care about that. Grandpa Otis was there where he
[end of genealogy lesson]
... taught by a 10 year old ...