(Not a Work Rant.. thank goodness!)
Why are deadlines called deadlines and why must we always be setting them? From now on when I start something new, I am going to stuve to have only goals with finishlines -or- how about coastlines instead?! The truth is, I love starting new things and sometimes don’t get as much satisfaction out of ending them. We often don’t pause long enough to celebrate our accomplishments to get that satisfaction. It’s always “on to the next thing” right away. I’m guilty as the next person of doing that.
My friend R (my Texas Bestie) always attaches a word or “theme” to the start of every year. This year is “stillness”. Here’s her explanation.. “I move forward so quickly through life … always onto the next thing … rarely celebrating the wins or processing the losses. This year I will attempt to find stillness every day … and acknowledge what is happening. 😊”.
That’s badass! I love and miss her so much. I need to get back to Austin soon. She’s one of the most supportive, smartest, successful women I know and her kids are lucky to have her as a role model. I digress.
Today my son and I are facing a finish line that I set 3 weeks ago for him to get his act together with regard to schoolwork. He has always struggled with school and finding motivation to just do the minimum requirements is a constant challenge. I get frustrated because I don’t understand it. I have had the inner motivation to do what’s required and yet to do it well inside of me. With him, if it’s not something he is interested in, he just doesn’t care.
I’ve got reports from teachers he just sits with his head down or tries to secretly read a book instead of paying attention. He does ok on tests normally but when it comes to homework, he’s unorganized and just sometimes flat out rufuses to do things.
This isn’t new. He’s always had this problem. In 4th grade they tested him and said he qualified for an IEP. That’s the new way to say “special education”. Individualized education plan. He doesn’t have a learning disability that’s identifiable like dislexia or ADHD. He may learn differently or have motivational issues but as far as I’m concerned he’s a intelligent kid and do t think the IEP is doing anything for him.
How do I know he’s smart and capable? His reading comprehension and vocabulary test scores are “advanced”. Like I said, he often does average to above average on tests and when it comes to something he is interested in, he hits homeruns every time.
Him and I play this game, Seven Wonders Duel”. We used to play the original board game as a family but you really need more players for that and Z lost interest in it. Duel is the two person version. It’s a strategic, card drafting game. We’ve played about 10 times and I have won once. It’s not like I’m letting him win, he just has a mind that is built for that game and he’s competitive. Believe me, it’s frustrating getting my butt kicked by my 14 year old son at a game when I’m really trying to win. That’s just one more example of how I know.
When he first got the IEP, we were leery of it because we were afraid of the label, but they operate very discretely. He attends all the same classes and just has special accommodations he can use if he wants to. He also has an assigned case worker who floats through all the classrooms of the kids to provide oversight and assistance.
The special accommodations for him include the option to take longer on tests or leave the room to go to a quiet, private space. He can have a scribe if he wants and probably some other things I’m forgetting. In elementary he had no idea about the program. I suspect he thought everyone had that, but like I said, he’s a smart kid and soon he recognized what was happening.
I think that is when he started rejecting the system. He’s offered these accommodations but not forced to use them. He’s openly told us in front of his teachers and case worker he doesn’t want it. I respect that. I’m sure if he always left the classroom for tests it would be visible to his classmates and he’s not cool with that. He also told us “it feels like cheating”, which was a notion that his case worker offered up as a reason and he latched onto it. So he’s got this IEP and it does nothing for him. The burden is on “us” to help him be a success.
I say “us” in quotes because it’s really just me. His dad is not interested in helping him succeed. He’s more interested in pontificating about the past and blaming me for the situation. I called him two weeks ago, at my wits end, on a Sunday night asking for help and support. What I got instead was an earful of blame. 40 minutes listening to him say it’s my fault because I initiated the divorce (10 years ago now), and that my recent change in relationship status and move are also to blame. We only spent about 10 minutes actually talking about how to help C now. And to that he said “it’s too late and we don’t have anything we can do”. That’s so much bullshit I can’t even begin to expresss my anger about it. What an ass-hat!!
So it’s just me.. with Jim’s support and advice of course, but if C spends half his days and nights with his dad who has that attitude, then it’s even more of an uphill battle. The kids were with their dad all of spring break and they did nothing…. well not nothing but don’t even get me started on the outcome. C came back home worse off than when he left. Ugh!!
Today is the final day for him to get caught up on all his missing work. Going into today, he still had a few lingering things unfinished. I literally did most of some of it with him (for him), trying to help him understand things he didn’t get. Then again, the line between not understanding and not caring is blurry. One can be fixed and the other is a tougher nut to crack.
If he doesn’t get everything accounted for, he’s losing all his privileges for a month. And by privileges I mean “electronics” because his video games is all he seems to care about. Last night I sat with him in his room going over what was still outstanding and he just laid on his floor not seeming to care. What am I supposed to do with that?!
There’s so much more I have to say about all this. I’m not looking forward to having to enforce the consequence I have established. I just know that I can’t cave like I always do. He knows I’m a softie and has taken advantage of that. I give in too easy because I want him to be happy. It always just feels like a puzzle with no solution.
In that sense I guess today is more like a deadline and that’s the distinction. A deadline is something that has negative consequence if it doesn’t get done. I don’t like deadlines… I only want coastlines, where the sky beyond the edges is bright and blue and frames fantastic sunrises and sunsets.