I exchanged emails with my son's teacher over the weekend. This is a very 21st century thing to be doing-I certainly would have freaked out if my parents had done something similar when I was my son's age. My son seems unimpressed-but, in a way, he is unimpressed about just about everything. I think he is getting used to the idea that I am one weird cat. It wasn't about his scholastic performance, it was actually about the Vonnegut excerpt I posted below, but it wound up being about that, at least in passing. That is an entirely logical thing to happen-after all, my son's status as his student is the reason why I know him at all.
But I digress.
The problem I am having, and have had, and continue to have, with my son is motivating him to apply himself in school. This is not an uncommon problem-and it was certainly one that my parents had with me. It may pass, with time. It may not. I don't know anything about a lot of things, and parenting is one of them. Parenting is without question the single hardest and most complicated thing I have ever done. I'm never done parenting, and I am constantly afraid I am doing it wrong, and I am given reminders, every once in a while, that I am.
Now, part of this problem is the breed-preteens don't care about a lot of things that we'd rather they care about, and care a lot about things we'd rather they didn't. I get that. Part of the problem is that he's right-no matter how hard his teachers try to render it otherwise, school is boring. It is infinitely more interesting to be doing any one of a hundred other things, especially in 2009's multiverse of entertainment options, than being in school. 'Twas ever thus-even in my own childhood in the late Pleistocene, I would have much rather been at home than in school, ten times out of ten, and twice on Sunday. Except we didn't go to school on Sunday. Except for Sunday School.
The only way I can get my son to work at anything is through threats of dire consequences if he does not. This is a lousy motivator. (Mind you, I'm Scottish, so I'm stubborn enough to follow through on the threats, and, on a few occasions, I have.) "