dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

How and why Phil failed Michael.

While it's fun to bash John and Elly over the head for sabotaging Michael, I'd like to take today to talk about why the person who wanted Michael to succeed also failed him. Phil certainly seems to wanted to have helped his nephew but he has a problem that he shares with Elly: an inability to understand children all that well. Phil might be a perfectionist and reasonably good teacher in a classroom setting but it seems to me that asking him to interact with a child on a one-on-one basis is asking for trouble. One of the few things Elly and I agree upon is that her kid brother doesn't exactly live a kid-friendly lifestyle. He might like the company of children but he tends to interact with them on his own terms and thus makes a bit of a fool of himself. After all, he never showed the least sign of understanding that Elly's sullen refusal to make practice (or anything else) enjoyable because she equates having a good time with wasting time made Mike see the trumpet as an instrument of torture. Since he doesn't know that Michael equates having to plug away at something with punishment for being able to enjoy life, he was doomed to watch a good kid give up for no reason that he could ever determine.

This, I should think, is a hint as to why he gets frustrated sometimes when he teaches his music class. Since he doesn't really have much of a clue as to what the home lives of his students are like, he can't quite figure out that what looks like a child who just doesn't bother trying is a child with unsupportive parents like Elly and John. Since he doesn't understand parent-speak any more than he understands children, he can't spot wretched parenting when he sees it like most of us can.

He also seems to not understand something else about children in that it never actually occurred to him to ask Michael what instrument he's actually interested in. A goofy confirmed bachelor who only deals with children in a classroom setting if at all might be excused for not getting that it wouldn't be the end of the world if he asked the child what he wanted. Not so much the boy's father, as I will explain tomorrow.
Tags: phil: bee and bop king

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