No Excuses

Some of us find a way. Some of us find an excuse. Maybe you’re putting off that check engine light because you just don’t have time. Perhaps you want to start that new diet… tomorrow. Your knee hurts. Your backs hurts. Your shoulder hurts. You’ve got a headache. This month ends in Y.

The list of excuses is only limited by our imaginations. I have witnessed some expending more energy at making excuses than it would take to just do whatever it is they’re making excuses for.

When our oldest brought home some math homework last week, I rejoiced at seeing that it was multiplication. Double digit times a single digit, to be a exact. I knew he could do it. However, we were kind of taken aback when he told us that the rest of the class had to complete two rows (10 problems) while he had to finish just one (5 problems). We knew what the teacher was thinking, and I don’t blame the teacher at all. He has ADD so they were trying to make things manageable for him.

However, we knew better. We are not about to let his diagnosis be a crutch. Naturally, he argued with us. He’d argue with Satan himself, so the arguing wasn’t anything new to us.

My teacher said I only have to one row!

“We know what your teacher said, but you can do this multiplication. You are NOT going to use ADD as an excuse to not do the work we all, yourself included, know you can do.”

He didn’t get it at first. He couldn’t understand how he was using his diagnosis to get out of doing work. His teacher assigned fewer problems for him specifically. Instead of looking at the work and thinking “I can do this” he looked at it and said “HA! I only have to 5 problems instead of 10.” Because he has two teachers for parents, we made him complete two rows. School was out the next day because of a snow storm. We made him do two more rows anyway. School was out the day after that, too, because of a power outage. We made him do the last two rows.

What we fear is that he’ll see his ADD diagnosis as a crutch, an excuse, a limitation. I highly doubt Justin Timberlake, Jim Carey, Will Smith, Michael Phelps, Sir Richard Branson, Howie Mandel, Michelle Rodriguez, and countless others see their ADHD has a limitation. They certainly wouldn’t be where they are today if they did. The world already sets so many limitations that we don’t need to start imposing them on ourselves. I don’t ever expect him to say “Give me more work,” but I will expect him to do the work I know he is capable of doing.

 

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Am I My Child’s Servant?

The scene: 7 am in the morning, breakfast time. Dad is in the kitchen. 9 year old is in the living room.

Dad: [Hollering from the kitchen] What do you want for breakfast?
9 yo: [Hollering from the living room] A bagel.
Dad: Come on out and make it.
9 yo: Can you make it?
Dad: No.
9 yo: UGH! [stomps on floor]

Am I my child’s servant? I’d like to think I’m not. When it’s pancake morning, I’m more than happy to make them because I’ve seen the resulting mess. That, and I don’t yet trust the 9 year old to use the stove.

We’re working on it, though.

But a bagel? He can make that. And no, I’m not going to pour his milk for him, either. I’m afraid if I were to tend to his every wish I’d soon be wiping his arse and picking his nose for him.

Eww. Gross.

Isn’t that what people think happened to the Millennials? They were coddled and babied and had everything done for them so now they can’t boil water. I’ve heard stories (and I’d like to think they’re just stories, but they’re probably not) about parents attending their child’s job interview. About parents calling university professors to get their child’s grade changed. About Millennials who eat out because they can’t cook.

I apologise to those Millennials this does not apply to.

We’ve been working on independence. Mostly in the morning getting ready for school and in the evening getting ready for bed. His ADD doesn’t really help the situation, but knowing why he’s having so much trouble is a step toward helping him better. Prior to helping him he needed constant supervision to keep him on track. He couldn’t get into pajamas and brush his teeth without being distracted by his brother, or books, or his toenails. So I would stand outside his bedroom door and give constant verbal reminders on what he should be doing.

I’m afraid of what might happen should this continue into his teen years or even later. Should I just resolve the fact that he’ll be living with us forever? Perhaps long enough that I’ll be so old I can’t cook my supper. Maybe by then he’ll have it figured out and will be able to take care of his elderly parents in their final years. Perhaps if we can get him a good job he’ll be able pay for the house and the groceries and the hover cars.

So  we are creating an independent individual today so that he can make his own bagel. If he can make his own bagel he won’t be hungry in school. If he’s not hungry in school he’ll be able to focus better. If he focuses better he’ll learn more. If he learns more he’ll get into university. If he gets into university he’ll get a good job. If he gets a good job he’ll be able to afford to feed himself. If he can feed himself he can make his own bagel.

And wipe his own arse.