Thursday, January 3, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect (or close enough)

My youngest has been struggling in school. Homework has been an ugly, ugly battle.

Last night, his amazing step-mother helped him with most of it before I picked him up. I only had to help him with his science notebook. It went better than expected. In fact, it was the most pleasant homework time we've had all year.

Sitting side-by-side, as we put his papers back in his backpack, we had a brief heart-to-heart. We talked about school and why it's important. We talked about which of his behaviors upset me (1- when he's rude and 2 - when he refuses to try).

"But school is just so boring!"

Man, I've heard that before.

I told him about the coolest things I ever did in school. Things I knew he'd like: science experiments, field trips, special projects. But I told him (and I believe this is true) that I only got to be in the non-boring classes by working hard and being a good student. The goofy kids who refused to do their work and mouthed off to their teachers, continued in the "boring" classes.

No one wants a goofy kid mixing chemicals. I pantomimed an explosion and he laughed.

"Were you bored in school?" he asked.

"Uncle Brett and Aunt Molly were. They're really smart like you and Gabe."

"But were you?"

I paused.

"Matt, Mommy was a big dork. I wasn't very good at math, but I was good at other subjects because ALL I did was read. I didn't play sports or have many friends because I was too busy reading."

He put his arms around me and wiggled into my lap.

"I don't think you were ever a dork. And all that reading just made you a really good reader now."

And amidst the strife of the last week, we had a moment of sweetness.

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