Accountability

I have been meaning to blog all week.  It is now Friday morning and here I am.  Coffee in hand… ready to spill the beans on my thoughts regarding the perils of parenting.  This weeks blog is on accountability.  How do we teach our kids to be accountable to their own actions and behaviours.  I will admit that this is a big value of mine.  I am constantly preaching, much to the dismay of my three children, about how they are the only ones who are in charge of their own words and actions… I am sure they hear. ‘blah, blah, blah…’   This past school year we have had the honor of examining what accountability looks like when it comes to homework.  Homework can impact relationships within the family in a big way.  I have had to examine closely how I was going to handle grade 5 homework.  The truth is that we didn’t really have homework until this year and now it is here – not every night, it seems to come in waves and seeing as I have twins I get to do double the load… not too mention that focus and fast work is not my boys forte.  They are good at many things, but not this.  Add to this the fact that I know all the right things to do, I understand development and I know the ‘right’ way to approach the situation… which can sometimes add pressure, as my inner thoughts say things like, ‘oh my word, this is pretty messy and I can’t really read your writing and I can see you put next to no effort into this because you would way rather play mini hockey then spend half a second on your homework.’  I get that.  I would way rather go to yoga then do my taxes.  Then I think, is it time for that jaded speech about how you have to get your school work done before you can play.  I hate that talk, and hate’s a strong word!  So after taking a few deep breaths I had to come to a few realizations of my own this year.  The first being that I have to stop resisting the process, homework is here to stay for a while.  So now I have to turn homework into a positive experience and a valuable teaching lesson – yikes, that sounds like a load of…!  (I will let you fill in the blank.)  Yet, it’s a long journey ahead and what’s at stake is my relationship with my kids.  This cannot become a yelling match, because the truth is that they would win – for those of you who know my boys, THEY ARE LOUD!  So now I am using it to teach them accountability.  One of them came home with a math project a few weeks back.  We sent him up to work on it and when he returned he presented us with, well, hmmm, what would I call it…, well…, how do I say this nicely… ok I can’t…, it was crap, it was terrible, it was messy, we couldn’t read it!  So I took my internal moment, reminded myself that I didn’t need to control everything, I gave myself permission to allow my son to get a bad grade on a project, after all this is only grade 5, I am pretty sure Harvard isn’t going to look at this project.  So I sat down with him and together we just looked at it… taking it all in.  I asked him what mark he thought his math teacher would give him?  I also told him that if he wanted to turn this in that I would be fine with it.  I then presented him with the opportunity to start again and I told him I would sit beside him and keep him company.  Either way I would support him, but I wanted him to own his decision and to be accountable to his choice.  I can’t say this was easy and I did breathe a small sigh of relief when he chose to redo it.  However, what I was really looking for was for him to connect to his work and own what he produced.  I could see him really having to think about this, especially as it was snowing outside and all he wanted to do was go play in it.  If he had decided to turn in his work I would have been ok with that too.  He needs to make these decisions for himself and not for me or for anyone else.  I need to give him these opportunities to learn that lesson now, when the consequences are not high, when he can fall and I can still help him up.   For now, here is to March Break and a few weeks of no homework!!

 

No matter what, no matter how, where or who – you can always turn around and get a second chance.

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