I warned my son.
I gave him reminders.
I warned him that the start of the school year was coming fast. I even offered a few harsh stories from my own past – stories of me procrastinating and paying a hefty price.
Of course, my son didn’t listen.
‘Just get it done’
He’s taking an AP course this year and his teacher gave the class “summer homework” to get them ready for the year. She asked for the homework to be completed by the first day of class. With the deadline hanging over his head, my son found himself working round-the-clock and staying up late two weekends ago to make sure that he had everything completed on time.
Now in his defense, the homework was pretty comprehensive — detailed outlines of the book and coming up with definitions for a lengthy list of glossary words — and he’s had a busy summer. He had to fit the homework in between several family trips, his marching band camp, and everything else going on in the summer.
However, when my son came home the first day of the summer, I suggested that he might want to “crank out” the homework so that he didn’t have it hanging over his head all summer. In my mind, I was envisioning a couple days of heavy lifting, a boot camp-like experience, and then a cakewalk the rest of the summer.
If I was a comedian going on center stage after my suggestion, I would’ve been booed off the stage and out of the club. My son ridiculed my idea, calling it the worse idea in the world. He would get the homework done in due time, just not the first week of summer vacation.
‘You see it coming and there’s nothing you can do’
I had swung and missed. (And it was a mighty swing.) I put my head down and walked back to the dugout. I tried to bring my idea back up to him every few weeks, but I got the same answer: “I need a break dad, I got everything under control. I’ll get it done on time.”
Yes, he started to get more serious about the work in late July, but he really didn’t start to put nose to the grindstone until a few weeks ago. As a parent, you try to help your kids, you try to protect them from the head-on collisions that you see coming their way, but sometimes, there’s nothing you can do.
You see the truck running through the stop sign. You see it coming straight for your car. You try to stop. You try to swerve out of the way. Just like the movies, everything slows down to slow motion. You see the crash of metal on metal and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it.
I saw this one coming a mile away, but my hands were tied behind my back. So, I had to laugh quietly to myself when my son spent much of last Saturday working to get his homework done.
He worked and he worked. Finally, late into the night, well past my and his bedtime, he got it done. With his hair a mess and his eyes bloodshot on Sunday morning, he looked like he had just completed a marathon.
Of course, he immediately started gloating about being done. I stopped him to remind him that it could’ve been easier on all of us. I wanted to add an “I told you so” in there too, but I let the moment pass.
At least, he was done.