Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Swoop

I got a text message this morning from AKD, informing me that he had forgotten something, and asking if I could bring it to him at school.

How would you respond?

I don't remember this being a thing when I was in high school.  Asking a parent to bring a forgotten something to school required a trip to the office to make a phone call.  Most students I knew avoided the office at all costs, and furthermore, didn't want to bother, so we either remembered it, whatever it was, or we did without.  I don't recall ever calling my parents to bring a forgotten something to school.  If they remember differently, they can chime in.

These days, though, everybody, and their brother, has a cell phone.  Well, except for AKD, that is.  I'm pretty sure he's the only one in his entire school who doesn't.  My words--not his.  He's also one of only 3 high schoolers who still have to ride the bus (unless he wants to ride his bike, which we have told him he is welcome to do), but that's another post.

And because everybody has a cell phone, they can call or text a parent to bring a forgotten item to school.  Most of the moms I know will drop everything, at a moment's notice, to do so.  I have a little harder time doing that.

It's not that I mind, necessarily.  I am a stay at home mom specifically so that I can be available for my kids if they need me.  I wouldn't think twice to come running in an emergency situation, or even in some non-emergency situations.

It's not that I had other things planned for today (which I did).  It's not that I couldn't get to the school.  It's not that it costs about $2 and half an hour of my time to drop off something at the high school.

It's that I want him to be responsible for his own stuff, and to accept the consequences for his mistakes.  I feel like this is an important lesson for all kids, but it's especially crucial for young teens.  AKD has 3 more years of school and then he will be an adult: an adult who can vote, join the army, live on his own, get married, sign a legal contract.

Today, it was paper clips for a school project (what?  They don't have any paper clips over there that he can use?  The school's budget must be worse-off than I thought).  But in a few years, it could be forgetting to pay the electric bill or digging into debt.

I need my boys to know that mommy is not always going to be around to clean their bathroom, pick up their dirty clothes, and bail them out of trouble.  Mommy is not always going to be able to swoop in to the rescue.

Today, I decided to swoop.  Because I can.  And because I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times AKD has forgotten something he needed for school.  It's not a habit, and I don't expect it to become one.  I did, however, inform him that he would need to compensate me for my time by performing an extra chore.  Can't decide if I want him to mop or fold laundry.  Maybe I'll let him decide.

I don't even know if he got the darn paper clips, because I haven't heard from him since that first text this morning (he's texting on an old iPod, and it's spotty at best).  The class he needed them for started 35 minutes ago, so I hope so.

How do you respond when your kids forget something?

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