The difference in how Daniel handles his routine is pronounced. I was encouraged to see Daniel asking for help setting his alarm last night. He also went to bed earlier, without any prompting from me. He was up in plenty of time to take a (long) shower and still catch his ride to school. There is no more stress in the morning and much less in the evening. Daniel has not been snapping at me. He has been reasonable when I disagree with him. Many of the small clashes of every day life have been eliminated.
The situation with academics is quickly becoming the hardest lesson of this experiment. Daniel did not have me sign his agenda yesterday. He did not complete two out of three of his assignments last night. One of these assignments he was required to complete in class by his primary teacher. This made him late to his Reading Resource class.
Daniel’s Reading Resource teacher is a wonderful woman. She asked Daniel why he was late. When she heard it was because he was completing unfinished homework, she questioned why that work was not completed the night before. Daniel went as far as to try to lie to her about the reason. She gently insisted on the truth. When he finally confessed, she reminded him about how important it is to be honest and fess up to our responsibilities so we can improve. I love this woman!
Daniel has been facing a deadline of 40 RC points by the start of Winter Break. Today he found out he currently has 12.
When I picked up the boys, Daniel and I had a good conversation. Actually, it was mainly me asking guiding questions. Daniel admitted to incomplete homework but insisted it was “not a big deal”. I reminded him that his grades would either confirm or contradict that assumption.
“You just want to be right!” Daniel accused me.
“Actually, one of the biggest lessons I have learned this week, Daniel, is how wrong I have been,” I explained. “I thought it was important for me to make sure you completed your routine correctly. I felt that if I didn’t stay on you, you would never make it through a morning or afternoon routine. Boy, was I wrong! You have showed me that you are 100% capable of getting your self ready for school and out the door. You are great about getting ready for bed at night and completing your chores.”
I just need to work on my school work, huh?” Daniel asked quietly. Suddenly, Daniel burst into tears, “I am so distressed!” he admitted.
Daniel explained that he didn’t think he could make his RC points. He told me that he needed 28 by two weeks from Friday.
“Well, there are 13 school days until then. If you test on 2 points or more of RC reading everyday, then you will make that dead line,” I suggested.
Daniel seemed encouraged.
We arrived home. Daniel was careful to complete two of his spelling homework assignments, which was an improvement. However, he did not do any reading at all. Instead he played Wii and watched TV.
It is so difficult for me to watch Daniel with this reading situation. I will be very surprised if he can get himself to read enough to meet his RC requirements. I want so badly to step in now while there is still time to save the situation. I want to make him do the right thing. But this is a preview to adulthood with Daniel. There will be many times in the future when I have to take the chance and let him succeed or fail on his own.
The important thing for me is to carefully keep my goal in mind. The success of this experiment is not measured in grades but in the experiences – the experience for Daniel of getting to make his own choices and having to live with both the good and painful consequences of those choices. My experience is one of learning to let go of control and practice guiding instead of preventing and protecting.
How about you? When it comes to your child, how do you decide where to step in and where to let go?