Sometimes online, I think that we post only the sunshiney goodness of our lives. Or we post the ranty bits. Or the angry ones. Or maybe that’s just me. I rarely post about the bad bits. The disappointing bits. I suppose that part of that has to do with not wanting to publicly diss other people. It seems unseemly. Unsightly. Just wrong. Especially when it is about my son. It seems even more wrong to write online about my son’s badness. But maybe it is my badness. Maybe not his. So maybe that is all right.
I was out of town during the first week of the new trimester at school. When I am home, I try to keep on top of all the homework. It is a lot. I have a whiteboard that I use so that we can see the work. So nothing is forgotten or dropped. I know what you are thinking. That I should just let him sink. That if he was failing everything then maybe he would be more responsible. That is a really nice theory. When I was away for five days, no one used the whiteboard and when I came back the grades for the four core subjects were three Fs and a B. Not grades on work mind you, but the actual grades in the classes.
These super bad grades are still lingering, weeks later. I was struggling to understand why. I discussed this with my son, specifically the work for Language Arts. I received three incomplete notices that day for work that he had told me was done. For one, he told me that there were technical issues and everyone was having them and the technology person was working on fixing it. For another he told me that he had done it incorrectly but had fixed it. I asked if he had emailed the teacher and he said yes. And for the final one he told me that another boy had used his word and basically stolen his work. I decided to email the teacher myself. I should have known that when there are too many stories, there are too many stories.
Basically when the teacher responded, it turned out that all of these were pretty much tall tales. He had not had a technical issue with the program, he did not email her about fixing the assignment and he had not logged onto the word site for two weeks so that other boy could not have “stolen” his work. I was kind of surprised. Mostly at the extent of the lies. So many. And so easily said.
We had a bit of a confrontation. I told him that I was really disappointed in him. I told him that no one likes a liar. I told him that he had lost all screen time. Lost use of his phone. And I told him that I felt like I could not trust him. It was harsh. But that was how I felt. He got into bed without a word that night and went to sleep.
I wondered if what I had said had made any impact on him. I remember that when I was young, the absolute worst thing that my mom could say to me was that she was disappointed in me. It was like stabbing me. I wondered if me saying that to him had made a similar impact. The next night when we were talking, he told me that when I had told him that I was disappointed in him, that it was the worst thing ever. He told me that it made him feel awful. I can’t lie, that made me feel glad.
And he turned it around yesterday. He was positive and enthusiastic about his work. But the shine has dulled today. I am hopeful that there can be a happy medium. Somewhere between lying and not doing work and being super bubbly and enthusiastic.
Maybe next week we will have peaches and cream. Or maybe just peaches. Just peaches would be all right in my book.