“Hey Mom,” was lobbed my way from Boxster, a.k.a. Teen Take-Out who has now morphed into Study Guy. Yeah, a little something that started happening about a year ago.
When the kid was struggling in school and life at the end of last year, we opted to steer clear and let the chips from a few poor decisions fall where they may. Granted we parked ourselves at a safe distance away – ready to help – but we stuck firm to our commitment not race in and save the kid. And, something happened.
Now, rather than waiting for someone to fix things for him or blaming someone else for things that just weren’t going his way, he has stepped up and started to own his life.
It began with grades. When school started this year, he put his head down and began to work. He worked hard. He didn’t like what happened last year. So he decided, without us telling him or him telling us, that things had to change. And he discovered something about himself. He loves to learn. Who knew? So when he brought home straight A’s from a school known for its academic rigor, we were surprised. Not just about the grades but that he didn’t care about them – he cared about what he had learned. He’s even kept at the learning this this summer. So far, he has progressed through half of a self-taught college level Chemistry course. (We’re thinking studying is his sport.)
Hmmm… interesting. Not something this Mom can relate to. I was one of those that would have driven a kid like mine (that would be a student) crazy. As the Queen Cramer, I memorized and spewed for many years, making good grades that opened lots of doors. It wasn’t until graduate school that I realized all the great things available for one to learn rather than regurgitate. I guess that’s where the work became less about performance and more about genuine results.
With Study Guy around, conversations present all sorts of new challenges – mostly in the participation category.
“So Mom … Do you know why the air just rushed in when I opened the door?”
“Well it has to do with metaphysical blah, blah, blah, blah, blah” Seriously, I couldn’t even understand the words he was using. This must be what the kids hear when I’m pontificating about merits of cleaning your room, doing the laundry, blah, blah, blah.
“Oh …” I respond, acting as if I have a clue.
He continues excitedly about his topic, asks a few more questions to which I respond in the same manner, then he nails me, “Are you even listening to me? … Do you have any idea what I’m talking about?!”
“What did I just say?” (Oh my word – tables turning – this is what I’m usually saying!)
“Something about meta – well,” I stammer. “I’m trying. … I’m just..”
Truth is, I was busted. I wasn’t listening. I had tracked into a neighboring sibling conversation about Cheerios that was a little more my speed.
The kid audibly sighed as he poured Corn Flakes into his bowl. Last week the topic was transcendental properties including that of being. Before that it was classical mythology. Before that – phosphorylation and transverse tubules. Not sure what next week promises. I’m so grateful for his Logic teacher and their summer discussion group that meets once a week. Because I would sure hate to be forced to fire up some brain cells and think.
I need to point out to him all the brain cells I have donated throughout the years at the Baylor Hospital Maternity Ward.
Do you think we ever get them back?
Thanks for walking the road with me.
Here’s a huge shout-out and thank you to:
Fox-4 Dallas for having me on Good Day yesterday
Such a fun show! They had me cracking up the minute I walked in the door and saw what had been done to the book :)
and Macleans Canada for writing an article on Cleaning House – Mom vs Kids in Battle of Hard Work
you are getting more and more comfortable on camera, talking about this book! Great job again… hope you get more opportunities :)
thanks to you and FaithVillage for getting me started :)
So glad to hear this approach is working for you. If you haven’t already, check out “Drive” by Daniel Pink. It’s all about motivation. A lot of things parents try are just counterproductive. Will be following you with interest – keep up the good work!
thanks, Jenn… Will check it out. Thanks so much for sharing.