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Not Right Now

Procrastination is difficult for me. I know it is the standard process for some folks but it stresses me out. I am often too early for events, start thinking about the Christmas holidays in the summer, and worry about when spring will return as soon as the new year starts. Now that we are all back in school, I want the kids to sit down right after they get home and do their homework. But this year Junior has been very reluctant and has wasted some time in his room before I eventually go and get him to get it started. Daisy doesn’t have much so her homework can be done before he even starts. Junior seems easily distracted this year and he has had a lot more homework than previously. I would like him to start some good habits now since he will be doing homework for a long time.

After my psychology class, I stopped to talk to one of my instructors about it. He asked me about my homework habits and I told him that I liked to get the hardest assignments done first and then move on to the easier ones. He didn’t remark and when he paused, I fell into the trap of filling in the silence by continuing to talk. A thousand words later, I realized that Junior was not me and our habits would not be the same. I felt a little stupid since this is exactly the kind of stuff I was studying. The instructor helped me understand that I needed to be more aware of how Junior approached tasks to help him create his own process.

More than once, I have heard parents talk about how much harder it is to raise one gender over another. Boys are supposed to be harder in the beginning but girls are harder in their teen years. I really had not noticed any issues yet. I liked my kids and had a lot of fun always trying to get to know them better. They changed as they got older and I tried to really notice the changes. It’s hard to see changes when you live with children because some of them are so gradual. The habits you notice that change start to feel like mistakes. You had a system and it worked and then along comes a kid who turns it upside down. Nobody likes to change what they think is a good thing. But change we must and I started to back off on nagging Junior about the homework.

The first couple of days, he didn’t do his homework until after dinner and ended up at the kitchen dinette after we had all left to go watch tv. Another night, he was late getting done and didn’t finish. There may have been some issue the next day with his teacher because he came home complaining that she was picking on him. I refrained from asking any questions and changed the subject. The next afternoon, Junior went to his room and played after school while Daisy and I sat in the kitchen. I was reading and making dinner while she practiced her handwriting. Junior came in and joined us for a while and then left. He finished the rest of his homework after dinner. Eventually, Junior worked out a solution of his own, doing some homework early and some late. A couple of days he completed it all early enough to join us while we played a board game after dinner.

I impressed myself with my ability to keep my mouth shut and not offer advice. I am ultra good at advice. I give it away for free, but only when I have something to really offer. If I don’t know something about an issue, my lips are sealed. After a full week of experiments, Junior seemed less angry at his teacher for assigning homework and completed it all to their satisfaction. I need to be better at letting the children work out their own solutions. As they get older, they really need me less and less for some things. Who knows, some day I might be out of a job!

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