Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Why isn't the professor in the family the absent-minded one?

Last night Will got to stay up 30 minutes later than normal.  It was his reward for working so hard at school.  Will has been having a hard time remembering things.  His grades went down in Math because he had a stack of homework not turned in just sitting in his desk.  He was forgetting to bring his planner home so had no idea what his homework was and he was "finishing" his homework at school so he wouldn't have to bring it home and do it at home.  Only, it wasn't finished, it was hurried through with questions being unanswered that he accidentally skipped in his rush to get done.  I got tired of nagging.  No one likes to be nagged and I don't particularly care to be the one doing the nagging.  So we had a long talk with Will about how his current habits could have lasting effects on his homework (and even life) in the future if he didn't learn how to be more responsible.  We set up a plan that as we saw progress (and we set the bar low) we would reward him for trying to do better.  We also told him that when we got his homework and tests back with problems marked wrong merely because he didn't fill them out, we would make him do the entire page over again.

One thing about Will is that he really wants to be a better person.  He doesn't usually try to do anything naughty on purpose.  That's not to say he doesn't purposely do bad things.  He's a normal kid.  But in general, he wants to do what is right and tries to be obedient.  So, when he doesn't turn in his homework or fill all the missing questions in, I know it's not because he's trying to be irresponsible.  He just really doesn't have a brain that is detailed.  And that's ok.  It just means that Mike and I have to find ways to teach him to train his brain to be more detailed.

And Will has been working really hard to improve.  And I'm really proud of him.  He doesn't get all his homework turned in and he actually lost his planner a week after our talk.  But the point is, he turns in his homework most of the time now.  He finally found his planner after cleaning out his desk at school, his lunch box has been coming home almost every day, and he is zipping his backpack up without any reminders.  He also brings his homework home each day so that he can check and then have us re-check it to make sure it is done and filled out.  So, he's really been working hard.

We told him that his reward would start out small but as we saw him make continued progress we would reward him more.  So his 30 extra minutes at bedtime was well deserved.

And that's where I come in.

For the life of me I don't really know how to expect him to be better because I am 33 and still struggle with similar things.  It makes me crazy actually.  I have worked so hard to make myself more detailed and I think that really, I have made progress.  But sometimes I just get so annoyed with my lack of ability to remember things.  I have a calendar that saves me and I look at it on a daily basis.  I have systems that work well for me.  And usually I am able to keep my life in order and everything runs very smoothly.  But then occasionally something happens like losing my keys and I cannot find them.  When I first had kids I lost them all the time, along with my wallet. (I mean, I lost my keys all the time...not my kids...) But now, I've found a system that works really well and I rarely misplace my wallet or keys.  So when it happens I get so angry.

The boys were late an hour and a half to school yesterday because no amount of searching could produce my keys.  And I may have done some yelling and stomping.  I'm pretty mature.  But then I realized how ridiculous my behavior was and I just gave up looking, hoping they'd turn up as I did my normal activities.  I just didn't feel that it was worth the frustration.

I went today to make copies thinking I might only have to dish out $3 for a new key.  But no!  $100!  What?!  So I went back home and started looking again.  I've searched everywhere I can think of and I've called stores, friends houses, etc. hoping to find those darn keys.  I still haven't found them but hope to soon.

I just wish that it wasn't always me that provided the example of how NOT to be to my kids.  For once, I'd like Mike to be absent minded.  Isn't he the mad scientist anyway?  Aren't they supposed to be absent-minded?  I guess an absent-minded professor isn't the same as a detailed engineer is it?  Ah, well.  I provide enough of that for the bunch of us.

And I'm proud of Will for working so hard to overcome a characteristic that I still haven't mastered.  Truthfully, there won't be anything in Will's way to genius if he can master this.  Me?  Well, I'll never be a genius but at least maybe I can get my kids to school.

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