Take rest; a field that has rested gives a beautiful crop. --Ovid
The path never shows the traveller what the end of the day has to offer.--Bantu Quote
Sanctimonious Soccer Mom
And speaking of Soccer, I totally overstepped the boundaries of "soccermomdom". Here's how it happened. I innocently took my son to his practice and was informed by the coach that one of the players would no longer be able to remain on the team as he received a terrible progress report at school and his mother decided that this would be a suitable punishment. Then, without a moment's hesitation, the coach asked me to please phone the boy's mother and plead with her to allow him to play in the following game as we were already down one valuable player. I said I'd do it. Don't know why, it was really the coach's job but hey, I could fit it in.
Later that evening, after getting through my kids' homework ordeal, I decided to give the boy's mom a ring. First I spoke to the father who really wasn't behind his wife's method of punishment but wasn't willing to rock the boat so he passed the phone to her to let us hash it out.
To this day, I do not know what came over me. It was like I was possessed. I proceeded to tell her how badly her boy was needed in the game and then offered all sorts of unsolicited mothering advice on how to help her son boost his grades and how to be a bull-dog of a mother with regard to checking his homework, etc.
I think she was a bit put off by the whole thing. I don't blame her. But, on the other hand, I just couldn't help myself from being the child advocate that I am. Is it really right to punish the entire team, to which her son had made a committment, because his grades were failing? Would this really cause him to bring up his grades? Weren't there other measures that could be taken? No electronics? Weekend chores? You know what I mean. Heck, it's a whole lot easier for mom to skip soccer practices in sub-zero temperatures during the dinner hour and games that land on Grandpa's birthday. It really doesn't cut into her time or cause her to do anything extra to ensure her son's scholastic success.
I couldn't let it go. I went on to suggest strategies on how she could communicate and form allies with his teachers and get a list of the assignments ahead of time in order to be prepared when her son told her he had no homework. She said that it was his responsibility and that his teachers weren't willing to put forth the extra effort to provide her with an assignment list. I was blessing that Catholic School of ours once again. Our teachers are all more than willing to assist in such matters. I know that not every child gets the benefit of a parochial schooling but when it's your kid you have to go the extra mile. Perhaps a visit with the principal would encourage the teachers to be more helpful?
It was a really enlightening call for me as well. I found out that at the age of eleven this boy was responsible for getting himself to and from school on his bicycle and was suppossed to do his homework at home, by himself, unsupervised. It made me wonder how my own children would fare. One would do his work. The other? I don't know. There are lots of temptations to distract one from one's studies. Fortunately for me, I am able to be home with my tribe and go through the motions of re-learning decimal division and vocabulary words like "slake".
I wondered if I was actually doing my kids a disservice by double checking their every move at school and checking to be sure if they had all of the proper books to study for the upcoming tests. Fortunately, I happen to know quite a few teachers and I did ask them for their input on this. Is it better to let my children be responsible for their work and get some failing grades so that they could then learn to be responsible? Or, am I doing the right thing by taking charge and checking their school work and studying with them? All of the teachers told me that it was a good thing that I am so involved and that in the long run it will pay off. According to them, it's a rare coin of an eleven year old boy that will come home and do all of his homework without being prompted. Guess I'll just have to wait and see how they turn out. And, I have to admit, I do enjoy reviewing the work.
I finally let the poor woman go and was pleased to see her boy at the game. He played exceptionally well and I even received a check for the banner and coach's gift which I took as a commitment for future participation. His mom wouldn't look at me during the game even though I did thank her and let her know that her boy was certainly needed that day. We tied with the other team. Without him we probably would have lost our first game of the season.
He wasn't at practice last night, however. Hope he makes it on Saturday. I won't be there to see but perhaps my unsolicited advice wasn't such a terrible thing after all.