Why do I try to help my kids with homework? Have I not yet learned my lesson? It always ends up turning into a crazy match of wills. My teen has a report due tomorrow. He said it was done. I should have just left it alone. “Can I see it?” I knew it was a mistake as soon as the words came out of my mouth.
If by done, you mean chicken scratch on a torn-out piece of white lined paper, yah it’s done. When I suggested that perhaps he put a little more effort into it, he went on a rant about how tired he was, it was too late to start over, why do you always do this, blah blah blah…
I know what you’re thinking…let him pass it in like that. He’ll get a D and realize he should have put more effort into it. And while I know you’re right, there’s a part of me that can’t let my son be an under-achiever.
So, there we sat staring at each other. Neither of us wanting to give in. I wanted him to re-do the project. He wanted to pass it in as is.
My middle walked in and walked right back out. He didn’t want any part of this standoff. My husband left the room. My little headed to bed. Why was this so hard? Why couldn’t he see that in the same 5 minutes it took him to throw together that illegible piece of work, he could have typed up something with color & pizazz.
And then it hit me. He’s not me. Maybe I would have created something with color and pizazz, but he’s not me. I glanced down at his paper, and said “If this is your absolute best, if this is the best you think you can do, then I want you to pass it in.” And then I left the room. A few minutes later, he ran upstairs to his room, and I figured he was done. He was going to bed. He was done with the standoff.
He came right back down the stairs holding something in his hand. It was a typed report. He was smiling at it, and when he saw me, put it quickly into his folder.
He didn’t want me to know that he’d done it. Perhaps he didn’t want to admit that the chicken scratch wasn’t his best. That he could do better. But I didn’t care. The look on his face said it all. It was pride.
Some things we learn from textbooks. Some things we learn who we are & what we are made of, when we are challenged.
Some things we learn from stand-offs.