Monday, October 7, 2013

What a 12 Year Old Knows About Driving in The Rain

A number of the male species in my family are organizationally challenged. They have been known to forget to put their laundry in the dirty wash pile, clear the plates from the table or  have difficulty remembering to take their forms/phones/school ID/homework with them to school.

You get the idea.

I got a panicked message today from Jacob, my 12 year old who had left his English book by his bed, at home. 

I received 3 emails in the space of an hour. An hour in which I did not look at my phone because I was at an appointment. 

By the time I checked my email...(he had also left his cell phone at home)...the messages were pleading with lots of exclamation marks. I suggested that since the English lesson was over,  he should take a deep breath and just bring the book in tomorrow. 

His response - please would I still bring it. He could show the notes he had annotated in it, to his English teacher later in the day. 

I decided, (breaking all the rules in the parent handbook) that I would deliver the book.  This organizational piece is something Jacob  finds so difficult, even with checklists, night-before backpack packing and morning reminders in place. I wrote and told him I would leave it at the front desk for him. 

These are the two emails I then received from Jacob: 

       
From: Jacob Cannon 
          Subject: Re: Book
          Date: October 7, 2013 11:34:11 AM EDT
          To: Gilly Cannon 

THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!

Followed immediately by 

From: Jacob Cannon 
Subject: Re: Book
Date: October 7, 2013 11:34:24 AM EDT
To: Gilly Cannon

dont come while its raining really hard though

I was staggered. Out the dining room window, I was watching sheets of rain reduce visibility to zero. I had already decided to wait it out.

In the midst of his panic, Jacob had noted the extreme weather and cautioned me to take care. He might be disorganized and need a reminder about apostrophes, but his heart is absolutely in the right place. 

At the end of the day when I asked him if he had collected the book from the front desk, he slapped his hand to his forehead and  looked at me sheepishly. No. He had forgotten........sigh.

If I could just put his organizational skills in his heart, he'd never forget a thing. I know that hopefully in the long run he will find ways to compensate for the things he finds challenging. 

But truly if you ask me what's important. 

It's teaching him gratitude, empathy and care - I think he's got that down pat.

What would you have done? 

Now we need to brainstorm a full proof method for remembering all these things......

Gillyx

P.S. Yes I asked him. He was emailing during science.....oy. Next time he's on his own.


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 Please email me at gilly@bringingbooksofcomfort.org or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 
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20 comments:

  1. Great blog...GREAT KID!!

    --Lynn

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  2. That's so sweet...a thoughtful little guy! Like you, I'm sure we all question each parenting situation as to what lesson we want them to learn from our actions, do we let them learn it the hard way, etc. Sometimes we have to just follow our instincts and we learn way more than the lesson at hand.

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    1. So true! Learning goes both ways with kids.Thanks for commenting Marie.
      Gilly

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  3. I just delivered Addie's "Jonah and the Whale" project to her 5th grade class last week! His email was so heartwarming. He is a good boy. Love those type of moments.

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    1. Thanks Tobi. Jacob used his check list VERY carefully this morning. let's just hope he remembers to pick up his English book from the front desk this morning...update to come. Watch this space. :-)
      GIlly

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  4. So interesting, Gilly. Personally, I would have taught him the lesson and said no. However, I would have missed uncovering this terrific nugget.

    (I will also admit that for all the times I stand my ground and don't reward whatever it is I feel shouldn't be rewarded, there always seems to be a next time, which tells me my scheme doesn't necessarily work. sigh.)

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    1. Stephanie my boys have taught me a few things about parenting over the years.

      1. If tidying and organization are really difficult for them, then all the nagging, refusals to deliver forgotten treasures and consistent messages do not change their natural tendencies. Sometimes getting through the day with everything in its place has stretched them to the max. What I might do at age 12, perhaps would not be appropriate a couple of years later.I also think that if Jacob remembers 90% of what he needs-that's amazing. After all I forget things at home and have to go back for them. I certainly don't remember things 100% of the time and sometimes I have to make do without them and sometimes I have a chance to retrieve what I forgot.

      2. Those parenting rules work in general but sometimes there are good reasons to break them. You know your kids best in each situation. If your child knows why you chose to help them out, then you may get that wonderful nugget as a bonus.

      3. Almost 21 years since I first became a parent, 2 of those boys seem to be functioning just fine at college...and if they forget something, I am not delivering it. Even though they are only 20 minutes away!
      Thanks so much for commenting.
      Gilly

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  5. Hilarious, Gilly! And heartwarming as always.

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  6. My son couldn't find his clarinet this morning ... I think (hope?) he'll find it, but I realized that I feel just as anxious about a misplaced $10 sweatshirt as I do about a missing musical instrument. And I am very organized about my own stuff, but I've been missing a spare pair of glasses for a whole week. If I don't find them in another week I'm going to justify buying an inexpensive-but-still-stylish pair at Costco.

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    1. Yes, we adults all forge/loset things even with the best intentions,lists,iphone reminders and the rest. I guess what is important is what our kids do when they can't find something. Do they have the tools to cope? Do they knew who to ask for help? Where should they search in school? How can they minimize leaving things behind at home. With our crazy schedules and stressful lives, things slip through the net and sometimes the kindest thing is just to take the pressure of a little and help our kids out - not every time, but at appropriate times.
      I hope you find your glasses and if you don't a trendy pair from Costco sounds like a perfect solution. Gilly

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  7. Gilly, he sounds lovely.

    I always tell people to write things down before going to the doctor so you don't forget to tell/ask things that are important. I was recently going to the doctor and followed my own advice.......but forgot to take it with me lol

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    1. Liz -that made me laugh out loud. Do you know how many times I forget to take my list with me? Of course the list writing is excellent advice and often I have found that by having made it, I have a much better chance of remembering all the points or items I need to buy, without referring to it at all. I guess something stays in my working memory. Gilly

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  8. What a wonderful story, Gilly! You have raised a son that cares as much about others as he does himself - how awesome is that!

    Today I tried to get my son to stay home from school with me because he is so incredibly tired he is over the edge. Over breakfast he yelled at me that he's not staying home - he's going to school and I thought it was just another example of how overtired he is. In the car he finally shouted: "Ema! If I stay home with you when I'm not very sick they'll arrest you. It's the law that kids go to school! I'll have to cuddle and rest when I get home." He totally knows he needs to sleep and rest but didn't want me to get in trouble.

    Now the whole organization thing... whoa! If you find a great solution - you better share!

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    1. Wow! That's a powerful story Alli. Empathy is such an important skill and your son has a mega dose of it along with maturity beyond his years.

      Finding a balance to help our kids juggle in this stressful century is a real challenge, and tiredness only exacerbates the challenges.
      I think in someways school is harder than real life. -you have to perform well across the board, get organized, juggle intense sessions of learning back to back, work all evening and then you are examined weekly. When you can finally focus on your strengths and have others support you with things that challenge you, life gets easier....or you find a spouse who picks up the slack.......:-)
      Gilly

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  9. OMG this is so adorable and sweet in so many ways. <3 to Jacob!

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    1. Thanks Melissa-I'll pass on your <3 !

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