Sometimes, being a parent also means being wrong. We all like to think that we make good, sound judgments, especially where our children are concerned. Well, being a parent also means that you are human and you do, like it or not, make mistakes.
I am far from a perfect father. I have made many mistakes and been wrong many times. Likely, this is a pattern that repeat itself. Not on purpose, but, no doubt, it will. When I am wrong, I can admit it. Sometimes, though, it is hard to do so, especially when one thinks one is doing the right thing.
Recently, my fifteen year son missed quite a bit of time from high school due to illness. My son has an autoimmune issue that causes him to get sick frequently and it generally takes him longer to recover. In the past, he has been very diligent about making up his work and staying on top of his grades.
Chase is a wonderful son. Pretty responsible and is one who knows right from wrong. I credit his late mother and grandfather with much of his character. I like to think I had a hand in there as well. He doesn’t drink, do drugs, run around with out letting us know where he is and, most important, has empathy, something many young adults sorely lack.
Given his responsible nature, we decided not to hound him (as we have in the past) about making up his work and doing what he can to stay current at school. Unfortunately, he didn’t do as well as we had assumed he would and he fell behind. As a result, his grades faltered.
Naturally, I felt partly responsible for this…I should have been monitoring him more than I did. That said, he should have kept up. The work he was missing was not that much, but I thought that his teachers would not allow or could not allow him to make it up. Well, they did and he finished within a weeks time. As he was grounded until he made it up, he had a lot of incentive. At the end of the week, he had made it up. Since then, my wife and I have been checking the web site where the teachers post his grades, assignments, etc.
Once again, he got sick and missed a few days. As a result, his grades in three classes plummeted and, suddenly, there were assignments – some from the previous nine weeks – showed up as missing. I confronted him about them and he told me that he had already done much of it and that the teachers had not yet entered his grades. I, however, did not believe him and thought he was just telling me what he thought I would want to hear.
So, I fired off some emails to the teachers involved. I got responses. Now, before I go on, let me say that I do, in fact, trust my son. When he was grounded, I did not take physical possession of his computer or iPhone. I knew that he would do I told him. I knew that he respects us enough to follow our rules and instructions. This knowledge, however, seemed to elude me for a moment.
Sure enough, the teachers had accepted and graded most of the work (some of it requires him to be at the school, which he is doing) but had not entered it into the school’s system.
Imagine how small I felt. I had got so worked up over the poor grades that I forgot who my son was and assumed the worst. Not only had I, indirectly, let my son know that I had not trusted him, I believed a freaking web site over my kid’s word. I felt absolutely horrible. I did apologize to him, but it seems inadequate. How do I convey to my son that I do trust him, yet take the results on a screen to heart more than his words? Simple. Just don’t believe the damned screen.
So, I was wrong. So wrong here. I should trust that my son is still on top of things and just use the web site for guidance and not gospel. As for grades, maybe we should not put as high of importance on them that we forget the ones who are attaining those grades.