Saturday, April 24, 2010

Making the Grade

Friday morning, I was sitting in my chair reading the newspaper and having a cup of tea, when the thought suddenly crossed my mind... Wasn't there supposed to be a report card sent home a week or so after spring break (which was about three weeks ago)?

I asked my boy about it and he gave me a sheepish look while trying to make it sound like he couldn't recall. That didn't bode well.

I went upstairs for something and when I came back down, the report card was in my chair - but the boy had disappeared. Opening up the envelope, I discovered why he'd disappeared.

Throughout most of his school career, ZBoy has been an A-B student. His behavior and work habits left something to be desired, but as far as the academic end of things, he was doing well. So well, in fact, that he was sent for testing to get into the "gifted" program. He's gifted alright, but a couple of points shy of what the school system sees as gifted. He was turned down. Since then, his enthusiasm for school work has noticeably waned. Last time, he brought home a couple of C's.

This time, he brought home an F. In math. We knew it could happen. His progress report mid-way through the 9 weeks period said so. In spite of making up the work he didn't complete and turning in the assignments he neglected to hand over, he still made an F.

And now, he was hiding.

I got up and started looking for him. Not downstairs. I trudged back up and looked in his room, in my room, checked the bathrooms... nothing. Back down and a more thorough check of the first level, including his usual hiding spots. No Z.

Finally, I opened the front door and called him. And from behind my car came the quiet "I'm here, Mom." I've never seen anything as dejected-looking as that boy when he shuffled around the end of my car. I held out my hand, which he took, and led him back into the house and to my chair, where I sat down and patted my lap.

Big as he is now, he managed to snuggle onto my lap like he did when he was little.

I told him I wasn't mad, but I was disappointed. And that I could tell he was disappointed too. Sniff. Nod. I said, "You know what to do, don't you?" and he nodded again. "Okay, then... Now - I also saw your writing grade. I know how much you hate writing (which is pretty weird, I think) and I was really glad to see that you got an A! Good job!"

ZBoy sat up and wiped his eyes and said "Thank you. I thought you were going to be really mad and I was kind of afraid of what might happen."

I hugged him tight. "I am always proud of you when you try your best. And I'm disappointed when you don't. This is one grade in your whole school career so far. I made a couple of Ds when I was in high school. Science and typing. They didn't feel good and I did what I had to do to fix it. You're lucky to get this out of the way now before it matters so much."

He looked at me, wide-eyed. "You got a D in TYPING? But Mom... you type all the time!"

"See? I didn't let that D stop me from being good at it!" Z smiled. I think he got it.

And it's nice to know that he can still fit on my lap when he needs to!


Janis said...

I think you handled that situation very well Sayre. focus on the positive and not the negative. The next report card will tell the result. Poor be so scared...sometimes it can be hard being a kid!

karatemom said...

awwwww nice work mom.
Sounds a lot like the conversations I used to have with my son.
Although ,now in grade 11 they have changed.
It's more of your responsible to do the work. You know what you need to do .do it.

He's 17 almost. I no am no longer stressing over his report cards.
I do not even go to parent teacher interviews.

If he doesn't do the work he will fail if he doesn't get enough credits he won't pass.

It isn't a case , as for younger kids , where they may not understand. I find at this age it's not wanting to do the work.
Can't recall the last time he ever brought home any work.

But Zboy is still a ways off from this and you did a good job mom.

Sayre said...

Janis - Thanks... I never know if I'm doing this parenting-thing right. But my boy's turning out pretty well, so we must be getting something right!

KM - We're trying to get him to be more responsible about his homework. He knows that if we have to, we become homework nazis and he doesn't get computer time. It's good incentive to him to do what he needs to do.

Sandcastle Momma said...

You did good Mom! Now he knows that while you might be disappointed if he fails at something that you will still want him in your lap. And your disappointment will probably motivate him more than anger would have.

Native Mom said...

Wish you had been my mom! Is it too late?