Years and years ago, when my boys were babies and we were living in what can only be described as a hovel in Monsey, New York, we had no money and I hadn’t slept in like 2 years and my oldest was a really high-maintenance person and not doing one damn thing the “books” said he should be doing and my baby was, well, a baby and most days I thought I might just drive everyone into the river. And due to some sort of cosmic alignment I stumbled upon a parenting class taught by an amazing woman named Aviva Schwab. It’s called STEP, and it saved our lives. We were never the same (in the best way possible). This stuff is not a quick fix; it’s a way of life. Seriously. So we sometimes have moments of “OMG I’m losing my mind is this ever really going to work?” Aaaaaand here you go:
Scenario: the kitchen table at homework time. Asher asks for help with part of his “ariyot”, a Hebrew book. I help him understand the directions for the homework, and then notice a piece of homework he did for his general studies teacher. It was a mess. The handwriting was awful (very unlike him) and he had drawn pictures all over it (also unlike him). We are really SUPER hands-off about homework – I never check their work or their agenda (only if they ask), and we don’t rescue our kids if they really mess up or forget their work. They know this, and we’ve explained to them why we feel this is important. But this was so unlike him, I forgot myself for a moment and casually mentioned that at his age and in his grade he was probably expected to turn something in that was a bit neater and legible.
Fast forward a few hours: I’m in bed catching up on some blogs, when Asher comes in to my room and says, “Can I talk to you about something?” Of course I say sure. He says, “Mommy, I didn’t appreciate your comments about my homework for Mrs. Perry. I really don’t want you to check my homework, because it’s my homework and my responsibility and I should be able to do it the way I want and if I mess up I’ll learn from that but maybe Mrs. Perry will like my pictures and you never know so can you please not comment or check my homework? Thanks.”
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I managed to say, “Sure babycakes, I apologize. You’re so right – I shouldn’t have made that comment. It is your homework and I know you’re a responsible guy.” Hugs all around, and then Asher went to bed.
Aviva, my friend, na’ase v’nishma 😉