There is an old adage: The apple does not fall far from the tree. When a parent comes in for a conference or when we talk on the phone, I can see how true this statement is. For example, I had a parent arrive late for a conference to discuss the child’s frequent tardiness to class. During another conference, I was subjugated to excuses why work was not completed; many were similar to the ones the teenager gave me in class. I am not heartless and understand that feces occurs once or twice a year, and these occurrences prevent an assignment from being completed on time. However, some folks make it a habit to create the excuse prior to doing the work.
I could sit on my throne, look upon all students and their parents and judge their shortcomings, for I am perfect. Just ask my wife. On second thought, don’t do that.
The truth is I watched one of my little apples waste away his evening last night, and I never realized I was doing something similar. It was a free night for our family except for the wife; she had to work. However, the kids were free: no swim practice, no soccer training, no basketball practice, and no Tae Kwon Do.
There was a catch though. My daughter, who has missed school due to illness, had to complete her assignments. My oldest son, who is having a birthday party soon, had to clean the basement. His younger brothers were going to help him and the chore would take about 30 minutes.
‘We will start at 4:30, Dad” promised the apples.
At 4:35, I asked, “What time is it?”
“It is 4:35!” yelled my first grader.
“Hey Apples, it’s time to clean” I reminded them. With a few grumbles, the trio went to the basement to pick up toys. Within two minutes, the younger two came upstairs. The birthday boy decided it would be fun to throw toys at them. When confronted with this poor behavior choice, the oldest reminded me, “Dad, you always tell us to try to make a chore into a game I was just having fun.”
“Nice try” I tell him. “Only one-third was having fun. Now two-thirds are not going to help you clean. Way to increase your fun, son.”
Instead of writing from 4:40 until 8:00 like I should have done, I watched my son avoid cleaning the basement. I wish I could blame him for preventing me from writing, but he was not the cause. I chose to empty the dishwasher, run to the post office and the grocery store for milk … again, read my emails, go on Facebook, clean up the patio from yesterday’s storm, fix the grill, and do anything to put off writing. I was waiting for a topic to hit me, like an apple falling on my head.
Fortunately for the soon-to-be-twelve-year-old, he realized if he was nice to his siblings, they would help him. The basement was clean by 8:20, a new record! The boys realized Together Everyone Achieves More. I sure wish I had someone to help me brainstorm a topic or even write for me. The only family member willing to hang out with me at this point was one of our dogs, Feces.
I sat down and read other blogs and websites for ideas on education or business ideas. I found a few, and started to write. However, the words did not flow from my brain to my fingers with great velocity. In fact, they dripped like a leaky faucet and then disappeared down the drain. At 11 p.m., I called it a night. I had several ideas but no finished product.
When I awoke at 5:30 a.m. feeling semi-refreshed, I stumbled into the shower. Today’s idea splashed into my face, and I had to laugh at the irony of last night. My son is just like me. When we have too much time on our hands, we are our own worst enemies.