Thursday, October 6, 2011

the tough decisions

I'm sitting here on our first snowy morning of the school year.  Yup, you read that right - snow.  Although I'm not really ready to give up flip flops and short sleeves, I know this is the price we pay to live in the mountains and enjoy all the benefits of a ski town.

So, I'm choosing to embrace it.  I have a hot cup of coffee sitting next to my computer and the fireplace is roaring to keep me toasty.

My problem this morning is that I'm also sitting here staring at Sauce's binder that contains his homework that he so diligently worked on yesterday afternoon, and every day for that matter.  He rarely gives me much trouble when requested to complete his homework before having more fun.  He is careful with his answers, has neat handwriting, and generally takes pride in a job well done.

My first instinct was to hop in the car and bring it to him at school.  But, after some internal-parental-decision-making-wrestling, I decided that the only way he won't depend on Mommy to make sure his homework gets to school one way or another is to NOT bring it to him.

Ouch.  You see, this is the first time I've had to do this with my #2. 

Our #1 has been giving us a run for our money for years with things like this.  Last month, when fifth grade grades started streaming in, The Hunter was trying to explain away three zeros on homework assignments and a D+ on a quiz.

My man and I had to make it undeniable that the buck stopped right then and there.  The Hunter is passionate about karate training and he had a quarterly testing event to advance to the next belt color coming up.  It was harder for us than it was for him to miss that testing and remain at his current belt level.

The boy was heartbroken, angry, and embarrassed in front of his karate friends.  It was really hard for us to endure and he tried every way he could think of to change our minds.

Lo and behold, two weeks later we are seeing nothing but A's and an occasional B streaming in.  Admittedly, it has taken much more effort on my part as well.  I'm having to pester him to remember to bring home his homework, review each assignment with a fine tooth comb, make him redo incorrect work, and remind him to actually TURN IN his completed homework.

But, I'm seeing more proactive behavior from him.  He's learning how to succeed and little by little he is developing independence in this area.  It has NOT been easy.  But it HAS been worth it.

So, after reflecting on that victory, I'm expecting Sauce to come home from school upset about forgetting his binder.  I might even get a call from him asking me to bring it in.  But I'm holding out hope that this tiny lesson will reap great profits of personal responsibility for him in the future.


Julie Thompson said...

This is great. Have you read "Have a New Kid By Friday?" I thought the book sounded cheesy, but then heard the author on Focus On The Family and knew I had to read it. This is his exact strategy: to respond and not react. This has done wonders with our eldest. Tonight we let him go on and on ranting and raving in his room in defiance. We didn't do a thing. But when he came out for dinner he asked why his place didn't have a plate. "Oh, you'll be eating your dinner standing by yourself at the kitchen counter." Boom. Attitude was much better after that.

dogfather said...

Lesson well taught Laurie. They shall learn, remember and use it to teach your future grand kids. Tough love is always harder on the parents. Keep doing what your doing. Love Dad

Anonymous said...

You are a good mama.

Mama Shoe said...

We are in the same boat this morning! I just found #1's homework folder, he carelessly left it on the table. The school is 20 minutes away, so definitely not going to bring it to him-- I may be more lazy than principled.

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