Got a call from the boy’s teacher again. The boy had forgotten his homework and was in danger of missing the big field trip later in the year. There was a three strike rule after all, and he had just earned his second strike.
I was a little upset of course, partially because I know the boy works hard; doing hours of homework, making sure I check it (the boy is relentless), reading the decodable books over and over…I get exhausted just watching…
What made me think twice about coming down hard on him were my plurk friends who reminded me that the boy is amazingly independent and responsible for a six year old. Not so long ago, I talked about how much he misses me. Despite his teacher’s insistence that he’s acting out and attention seeking, when we’re at home, the boy seems to be doing just fine (stupid adults). So instead of chastising him, I showered him with hugs and kisses, told him I’m proud of him, that he was a great kid, that he was working really hard, and it would be a shame for him to miss out on the field trip because he forgot to turn his work in.
My plurk friends are right though. Since I’ve been working from home, I wake the boy up as I’m walking out the door. Sometimes, he’s up before that, getting in the shower, picking out his clothes and such; most of the time, needing no help from me. If he’s hungry, he even get’s his own breakfast (no he’s not cooking yet, but he can certainly make cheese toast, pour himself some cereal or toast some Eggos). Of course he’s not home alone, but my sister usually sleeps through both of our early morning routine so he’s doing it all by himself. He’s 6!
So Mr. Teacher sir, you can kiss mine and the boy’s awesome asses. We’re both doing the best we can and if that’s not good enough for your stupid field trip, then I’ll take the boy somewhere special on my own. You may not want to leave him behind, but I’ll tell you what he’ll learn if you do. It won’t be that hard work is rewarded. Instead, he’ll learn that no matter how hard you work, you’ll never be good enough.
That is what breaks my heart the most. That for all his hard work and self sufficiency, he’ll be punished for forgetting his homework a few times. I’m pretty sure, Mr. Teacher, that you’ve forgotten things even as an adult, but because you are an adult, no one told you (either verbally or with negative reinforcement) that your hard work was for naught.
The lessons the boy is getting from having to do so much on his own are just as important as learning to read and do math; just as important as doing homework and memorizing some list of words…As he grows up, he will emerge as one of the most mature, well rounded, confident, compassionate, intelligent and critical thinking kids in his generation; largely due to his being the only child (living with) his single mother. You might think his forgetting his homework is irresponsible, but the fact that he makes it to school everyday without much help from anyone sounds like he’s pretty damned responsible to me.
Yes, the boy is awesome!