April 23, 2010

A Lesson In Time Management

A good parent teaches their children how to be productive members of society. You provide the skills and education that they need to stand on their own. And with that you have The Jack B's philosophy on parenting, the abridged version that is.

This past week my son demonstrated that he has learned many of the lessons that he has been taught, but not all of them. Time management as it relates to homework was not one of those. This is not a new thing or something that is surprising. When he finishes the school day he has no interest in coming home so that he can do more school work. So we have had more than a few occasions in which he has been forced to stay up a bit later to finish it.

This is not acceptable.

I can relate to his distaste. I didn't find homework to be particularly stimulating either, but you have to do it. We all have our lists of things that we dislike but that we do anyway, or so I have told him. Of course I made a point to omit that I think that homework is sometimes useless. Just busy work that is assigned because the teachers are required to or wish to look good.

The reason why it is being assigned doesn't matter. What matters is that it be taken care of in a timely fashion and not at all hours of the night. As a third grader he receives a healthy amount, but not insurmountable provided that he manages his time appropriately.

This past week war finally broke out over this. He went on two playdates with the understanding that they wouldn't prevent him from finishing his work. Each time he provided a rundown of what was due and assured us that there wouldn't be a problem. And each time he managed to accidentally forget to list all that he had to do.

I told him that I appreciated his honest mistake but that playdates were on hold until his memory improved. As you might imagine he was distressed about this turn of events and asked the court for leniency. Unfortunately for him clemency was denied.

Things cannot continue this way. It is for his own benefit. If he develops the discipline now he will be much happier down the road. The rascal is a very smart boy and when he sets his mind to getting something done it happens very quickly.

From a selfish perspective it is annoying to have to play policeman not to mention that it cuts down on my free time. Free time that can be spent not only working on my stuff, but fun things with him. I made a point of expressing that to him. I like spending time with the kids, but not like this.

Just prior to ending the conversation I told him that I wanted him to remember three things:

1) I was a kid and I know all of his tricks.
2) All of his school assignments are placed on the web so I can check it at any time.
3) I do it all out of love and to quote something I heard throughout my childhood, "I am your father, not your friend."

And with that I bid you adieu, my break is over and it is time for me to get back to work.


Rachel Cotterill said...

It's definitely for his own good. I hope he gets the hang of it soon, for your sake!

Real Dads Hangout said...

I understand where you are coming from. My oldest is in the 1st grade and we go through the same thing. It is for their own good and as parents we have to remember that we are parents not friends. My father said the same thing to me and I appreciate and respect that NOW as a father.

Jack said...

Hi Rachel,

I am sure he will. Just might take a couple of kicks in the butt.


Our dads knew what they were talking about.

Minnesota Mamaleh said...

jack, as a former teacher and a current parent i concur: sometimes homework is pointless but alas the lesson lies within time management and getting your stuff done, fun or not. well done, dad.

Jack said...


All we can do is try.