I walked into my playroom this morning aterJohn had already left for to take the kids to school and I notice something out of place on the couch. Yup, there it was, Dustin’s homework in a nice little pile on the cushion. Topping the pile was the Free Homework Pass he was given for his birthday month. A sure way to lose recess at school is to forget your assignment sheet. A sure way to lose money from his class account (a behavior system) is to not turn in your homework. A surefire way to lose even more is to not turn in your signed report card holder….doggone close to straight A’s with much improvement from last quarter I might add. So the obvious thing to do would be to pick it up and put it in his room, or to leave it and let the babies tear it up – this would be the natural consequence and multiple lessons would be learned. The first would be that lack of personal responsibilty with your homework has not one, but numerous consequences, one would be longstanding because a zero on a homework assignment is difficult to overcome, another would be longstanding as well because he’d likely be in more deep water if his sister ate his report card holder.
I thought for a moment about taking the papers to his room so that he could take them all to school tomorrow. This seemed logical.
Logic did not prevail. I thought maybe there was another lesson that could be taught. This lesson would show him that I take a personal interest in his well being, that he is more than just “one of” in the household, and would likely reaffirm that I love him very much and will go out of my way for him. I woke John, the son, to watch Liam and one of the daycare kids, put a jacket on Maggie and took the missing papers to school.
I did not stop there, though. I took the baby and walked Dustin’s things into his classroom. His teacher saw me. His classmates saw me, and then Dustin turned and saw me. He looked upset, his head had been down, I’m sure because when he got to school he realized what he had left behind, and he knew that calling me would have been the wrong answer. He was going to suck it up and accept the consequences of his negligence. He looked at me and a look of relief flooded his face. An instant smile replaced the saddness. He stood. He hugged me in front of all his 4th grade friends and he told me he loved me, thanking me a dozen times. I guarantee the lesson of responsibility has been learned today, and in the process I think something bigger was gained in our relationship of mother/son.
I don’t know if he noticed my shoes today, but if he did he would have seen his own Napoleon Dynamite snow boots that I slid on so that I could leave in a hurry.