Our ninth grader came home with a few unusually bad grades. He’s losing focus, missing assignments. So, we banned technology until the end of the school year. Seven weeks. No video games. No YouTube videos. No watching South Park episodes for the millionth time.
To him, this means passing through the Gates of Hell.
So, he spent Sunday pouting and doing the homework that he had claimed earlier in the weekend was already done. Look at that! He actually studies for Spanish tests in Hell.
Although not the one who came up with punishment, I, of course, was the one getting the silent treatment. Until he handed me a letter Sunday evening. A full page. Almost as long as his English paper on A Farewell to Arms.
“Dear Mom and Dad…” it began before launching into his “re-commitment to getting straight As” and his strategy to achieve such a feat. He glared at me while I read how he is going to focus on studying so much that he will not be able to talk or eat until school gets out.
“That’s a bit extreme,” I said, annoyed at the theatrics.
He stuck his chin out and shook his head like a four-year-old stubbornly trying to win a not-speaking contest.
“Then show the letter to Dad.”
He shook his head again, as I knew he would.
“If this is your plan, Dad needs to know.”
So, he stomped upstairs, and I could hear them talking softly, before my son returned to me in the kitchen. With the greatest of seriousness, he said, “Dad and I figured out a better plan. I’m going to focus on schoolwork from 3-5:00 every day.”
“Perfect,” I smiled.
“Except for a five-minute break at 3:55.”
No technology… but speaking. And eating. And re-committed.