It’s a choose-your-own-adventure, except that instead of an exciting mystery to determine the fate of the protagonist, it’s a battle of the minds, emotions, and wills to get my kid to do something not very fun. Today it was “I don’t want to go to school—don’t make me!” First from the 7-year-old, then from the 10-year-old. The second I hear those words my mind kicks into gear, going through all the techniques I’ve learned over the years—and tried sometimes with success—in the last month.
First, I ask is it necessary? Answer: yes. Mostly because they’ve already missed a bunch of school due to illness and being tired in December from late-night dance rehearsals. And because my mind is always in hyperdrive, I flip to my general theory that missing one day of school isn’t that big of a deal, and maybe even missing a bunch isn’t a big deal either. After all, what is this 8:30-2:30 school-day all about? Learning resilience? Learning how to muscle through a day to prepare for the capitalistic grind? To learn?! Certainly learning shouldn’t illicit the same response as if I were pushing them off a plank into shark infested waters…back to already missed a bunch of days…blah blah blah. Okay, they have to go. Now what?
Reward! Yes, yes, that’s it. A tasty treat at the end for good behavior. What’s that? You don’t give a shit about sugar anymore? Then let’s switch to coercion! No TV after school. Ha! Now what say ye? Don’t care about that either right now, eh?
And I literally want to give up—sit my ass down on the curb, hold those sweet kids, and then go eat some donuts.
This really has to be a multi-part post, because where this has all led, is us coming back to the conclusion that for some of our kids, traditional school can’t be the only option. We are at the fork in the story where we can choose where the adventure leads and I’m thankful that neither choice leads to certain death. Stay tuned!