There’s a line in the Brandi Carlile song, Again Today, which reads, “The path of least resistance is catching up again with me today…” Which seems to hover around my head whenever I’m trying to convince my son to study for the classes he’s having the most difficulty in. Yet for some reason he believes if the subject matter doesn’t come easy to him, then he’s not interested in learning and therefore studying for said subject, namely Math.
Sunday night when his father and I cut out his “Play-time” to begin studying he looked us both in the eyes and said, “It won’t help, when it comes to Math, I’m retarded”. I looked back at him and began to laugh with incredulity over his statement. “No bay, you’re not. Do you want to know how I know? Because you’re the one who tested into Honors. If what you’re saying is true, then you wouldn’t be anywhere near an honors class. Instead what we have here is a boy who doesn’t like hard work-school or otherwise. Well, guess what? For the next two weeks, you’re going to work hard on passing this class.”
I enlisted help from my older brother Bill (Math wiz), who graciously cleared two evenings off his busy schedule to meet with him at his downtown office. After the first session, Bill told me “Marsh, he’s a bright kid, who knows this stuff. He’s a bit messy…” “Don’t tell her that,” the boy interrupted, admonishing his uncle, “it will only give her more ammunition to use against me…” Laughing I said, “He’s not telling us something we didn’t already know…” to the boy, who grunted and then disappeared into the house. “Marsh, he needs to practice this stuff, that’s all…he understands this but likes to distract himself even while working the problem”. “Like I said to the boy, you’re not telling me anything I don’t already know. I’m just afraid the more I push him to live up to his potential, he’s going to shut down on us”. “I hear you, but continue building him up. He’s a smart kid”.
Armed with good information, I made sure the boy arrived thirty minutes early for school, so he could meet with his teacher privately. “Bay, make sure you ask Mr. M for help okay?” I said to him. “Okay Mom” he replied and exited the car. Later when I picked him up after school I asked him how math went. “Eh, okay” he replied. “Did you ask your teacher for help?” I wondered. “No, I told him my uncle was helping me…”
I’m telling you if Mrs. K. had not been in the car with us, I might have kicked him.
“BAY! Why did I get you to school early this morning?” “To give me time to prepare for all my classes…?” He replied. “TO MEET WITH MR. M ABOUT YOUR FAILING MATH GRADE” I replied trying desperately to keep my voice controlled. “Oh well, the stuff he’s teaching right now I’m okay with…” “You were supposed to ask him for more material to help you study…more practice problems…etc,” I said. “Oh, okay I’ll do that tomorrow”.
His final exam is next Wednesday…
“The path of least resistance is catching up with (him) again today….”