Tough Love

NoPassGrowing up good grades weren’t rewarded, they were expected.

As a mom now, I feel the same.

All excuses from my kids for mediocre school performance are overruled:

“My teacher gives too much homework.”

“Boys don’t like school like girls do.”

“I’m only a kid I just want to have fun.”

“My turtle ate my homework.”

So when I found a bad test grade in Mo’s backpack I was LIVID. (Yes, parents, make sure you check your child’s backpack regularly. That’s where they stash everything.)

1. I was disappointed in the bad grade.

2. I was mad he crumpled it up and didn’t show me.

3. Despite his teacher writing that he could study and retake it the following day, he made no effort. I was annoyed at his apathy.

To get Mo’s attention I had to beat him deprive him of his Love: SOCCER.

There is already no tv during school weeks. The usual punishment of taking away the iPad, early bedtime, no XBox wouldn’t send the message I needed.

We already know about Mo’s natural athletic ability. In a world where athletes are praised for athletic talent but not encouraged as much with academics, it’s my duty to enforce the importance of an education.

I know Mo’s not lazy. When it comes to SPORTS, he wakes early for game days to watch old film, do drills, practice his shooting, and mentally get in game mode. If an 8 year old can do this on his own when it comes to soccer, he can apply similar efforts for studying.

IMG_20130414_121159Let’s be honest, universities and professional organizations are more interested in what an athlete can contribute to their team and less about their actual futures and well being. Sports is a business to make money. They profit from the success of an individual.

Therefore, I want my kids to understand that they need to have self motivation when it comes to learning as well. I love and fully support athletic endeavors, but school and education is vital for success.

Initially, it was a difficult decision to withhold Mo from a weekend of games. I didn’t want to let his team down and I live to watch him sail effortlessly across the soccer field. But sometimes you just have to take a stand as a parent. Kids will test their boundaries.

I informed Mo’s coach I put him on an “academic probation” for the weekend. The coach was very supportive and understood. Mo attended both games to cheer his team on from the sidelines. He didn’t wear his uniform, he wore his regular clothes. There was no ice cream or treats after the game for him, just a lesson.

Hopefully having time to reflect from the cheering section helped to remind him that he has to take school seriously. I know he’s young but he’s also impressionable and I want him to understand that academics and education are just as important as sports.

I’d rather he develop good study habits at 8 then try to start teaching them at 18.

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