And So He is Failing.

I checked Dylan’s grades on the computer.

I probably shouldn’t have done it, but I wanted to know if he was still failing Spanish. (He is. I’ve been trying to get Dylan out of Spanish since before he ever started.)

Dylan is getting C’s, D’s and F’s in every academic course.

Everyone says I need to let him fail. I’ve backed off and stopped telling him what to do. And every day, he comes home from school declaring that he has nothing to do. And so he does nothing.

And so he is failing. And I am standing by, watching.

Meanwhile, I discovered that he didn’t have a book to read for English. He’s supposed to have read 23 chapters – but he hasn’t had a book.

“The teacher said he didn’t have any more,” he told me. (The teacher did not verify this statement.) I thought it was important that he figure out a way to get a book, and then actually read the thing.

Surprisingly, he was able to bring a book home when threatened with losing his weekend fun time.

In the midst of all this, Dylan wanted to go for a walk. He hadn’t done his algebra (again) and he had read only the last two chapters of the book he finally brought home – but not the first 21 chapters.

“No,” I said. It was almost a reflex.

“Why not?” he whined. “I just want to go for a walk. I’ve done everything I can do already! There’s nothing else I can do today!”

It was raining and cold outside, and getting dark, too.

“No,” I said, digging in deeper. I knew I was supposed to let him fail, but I was furious. We argued for awhile (my mistake) and he fumed away, believing me to be the core of evil.

He came down later and said, “Mom, I would really appreciate it if you just wouldn’t say anything at all to me about school. I was all like, I’m going to do this! and was going to do my work. And then when you said that stuff to me I just felt like, What’s the point? And now I don’t feel like doing anything at all.”

Somehow, his apathy was my fault.

I got sucked in, of course. I went into a full-blown lecture about how this was all his choice – the grades, the book, the things he chose to do instead of school work. I talked about how I’d given him all the tools he needed, and he was just dancing around the tool box while it sat on the floor.

I knew I was in trouble when I said, “You don’t dance because someone tells you to dance. You dance because you enjoy the music.”

I understood it. But I’m not sure anyone else did, so I just stopped, then and there. I turned around and disengaged.


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