Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful For My Sanity

With Thanksgiving only days away, this is the time of year to pause and take stock of all we must be grateful for in our lives.

I am thankful for my family, a roof over my head and food on the table. I am thankful that Penn State beat Michigan in football this year. And I am most thankful that I still have my sanity because my 12-year-old is driving me insane.

He has apparenly decided to go for the title of class clown in middle school and has been acting up in class. He received an after-school detention last week for misbehaving for a substitute teacher.

Apparently, he has no problem doing homework or worksheets in school, but remembering to turn them in is another issue. He has been turning them in late (for only half credit) if he hands them in at all. He scrambled at the end of the last marking period to bring several grades up to a C. But he seems to think that since he got Cs and Bs on his report card instead of Ds or Fs, that this perfectly acceptable.

If this is not bad enough, his attitude in general leaves much to be desired. We are likely to get a smart answer or an argument over the slightest little thing these days.

We as his parents and his teachers know he is capable of a much better performance, so this is not acceptable in our household. It has resulted in the loss his much-beloved video games. Although this has encouraged a slight--and I do mean slight--improvement, more drastic measures are needed.

We have decided that since he wants a cell phone badly, he will receive one only if he makes the honor roll for the rest of the school year. However, instead of accepting it and working toward the goal, Sean prefers to go for the loopholes.

"What if I get all As and Bs and one C-plus," he asked recently.

"It doesn't count if it's not As and Bs," I said.

"But it's close!"

"Not part of the deal."

"Okay, but what if I got all As and just that one C-plus. Does it count?"

This child is wasting his talents in middle school. He should be in the Middle East negotiating a peace settlement.

I am hoping that wisdom and knowledge will descend from the heavens and settle on his stubborn little head. In the meantime, I have been forced to be the video game police and the locker and backpack monitor conducting weekly inspections for missing school papers.

I have been assured by friends and family who have been through this stage with their sons that Sean will eventually outgrow this and become more serious and cooperative. This, too, shall pass.

In the meantime, I will keep praying for wisdom and strength in the hope that strange people in little white coats will not need to cart me away in a straight jacket. And eating lots of chocolate to diffuse all that stress.

Thank God for the power of prayer--and big bags of Hershey kisses.

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