He Would Rather Dig Himself Into Huge Holes.

The quarter and the semester are almost over. It looks as though Shane might be getting straight A’s, although his science grade just tanked to an 87.1%. But if he gets A’s in Algebra I and Spanish I, his first-ever college transcript grades will be A’s.

Meanwhile Dylan – who said he was shooting for straight A’s this quarter – will be lucky to pull off all B’s and two C’s. I’m not sure he’ll be that lucky, since he has again asked me to back off and let him handle it.

Once again, the work got past him. Once again, he chose to believe he had it “all under control” – and his grades show the opposite to be true. Once again, he did not talk to his teachers until it was too late. Once again, he came home day after day claiming that he had no work due, that he’d already checked online for missing work, that he knew for sure he had everything done.

And once again, half of his grades are A’s – because they were turned in on time – and the other half are E’s and zeros, because they were turned in ridiculously late, or not at all.

Dylan came home from middle school – day after day after day – saying that he had no homework. Or he had a few problems to do for math, but that was all. He had nothing else, ever.

I don’t like to compare my kids – but in this case, it is essential. Sometimes it takes comparing them for me to understand how Dylan’s brain works. For that matter, it helps me to understand Shane, too.

Shane has been doing homework nearly every night since the first day of middle school. They went to the same middle school, but Shane has homework. In fact, even though the homework is minimal, Dylan probably had homework in middle school, too. But Dylan didn’t know he had homework.

So Shane does his work, every night, and he turns it in on time. Once in a great while, Shane forgets to turn in his homework. He leaves it on his bed, or on the floor, or in the kitchen. Shane almost never forgets to do his homework. But for the most part, the work is turned in – on time – and Shane gets A’s.

But Dylan – now in 10th grade – still insists that he doesn’t have any homework. And no matter how many times he looks on the computer at his class lists, or his assignment lists, or his grades with glaring X’s and 0’s, Dylan still says, “I don’t have anything to do tonight.”

And then he goes about his merry way, letting all those assignments slip through the cracks, wondering how it happens – how does it always happen – and having no idea that he could solve the problem with one simple new habit.

Ask your teacher after class: “What was due today?” (Then turn it in.) Then say, “What’s due tomorrow?” Write that down, or put it on your phone, and then actually do that work, that evening, and turn it in the next day.

Dylan doesn’t want to do that. He would rather dig himself into huge holes – and then dig himself out of the same holes, so as to add great drama to his life. And the whole time, he says sits on his bed, chatting with friends he’s never met in person, and says he has it under control.

And I have no choice but to let him do it his way.

But in all honesty, I prefer Shane’s way.

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