A ten year old public school boy was finding fifth grade math to be the challenge of his life. Science? A piece of cake. Geography? No big deal. Spelling? Ha! Give me a break…but MATH? It was devastating! Not only to him, but to his mom and dad, too! They tried anything and everything to help their son… private tutors, peer assistance, CD-ROMs, extra textbooks, even hypnosis. Nothing worked.
Finally, at the insistence of a family friend, they decided to enroll their son in a private school. Not just ANY private school, but a Catholic school. Nuns. Weekly mass. The whole shootin’ match. Well, the first day of school finally arrived, and dressed in his salt-and-pepper cords and white wool dress shirt and blue cardigan sweater, the youngster ventured out into the great unknown. His mother and father were convinced they were doing the right thing. They were both there waiting for their son when he returned home. And when he walked in with a stern, focused and very determined expression on his face, they hoped they had made the right choice. He walked right past them and went straight to his room – and quietly closed the door.
For nearly two hours he toiled away in his room – with math books strewn about his desk and the surrounding floor. He only emerged long enough to eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, he went straight back to his room, closed the door, and worked feverishly at his studies until bedtime. This pattern continued ceaselessly until it was time for the first quarter report card. After school, the boy walked into the home with his report card – unopened – in his hand.
Without a word, he dropped the envelope on the family dinner table and went straight to his room. His parents were petrified. What lay inside the envelope? Success? Failure? DOOM?!? Patiently, cautiously the mother opened the letter, and to her amazement, she saw a bright red “A” under the subject, MATH. Overjoyed, she and her husband rushed into their son’s room, thrilled at the remarkable progress of their young son!
“Was it the nuns that did it?”, the father asked.
The boy only shook his head and said, “No.”
“Was it the one-on-one tutoring? The peer-mentoring?”, asked the mother.
Again, the boy shrugged, “No.”
“The textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?”, asked the father.
“Nope,” said the son. “It was all very clear to me from the very first day of school, that these folks in Catholic school meant business!”
“How so?”, asked his mom.
“When I walked into the lobby, and I saw that guy they’d nailed to the plus sign, I knew they were serious!