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Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Way Boys Think

I've recently been enlightened on the way boys think, when they think at all, which isn't so often. But when they bother to put the effort forth, they actually are very calculating about it.

Last Saturday, we had a long day trip in the car, so I told my children to take their backpacks and work on their homework during the ride. My 6th grade son sat in the back, right behind my seat, with his backpack open, books pulled out. I could hear him rustling papers and zipping his pencil case open and shut, sounds that assured me he was diligently completing the task at hand.

Or so I thought.

Monday, I received three e-mails (plus a fourth on Tuesday) from his teachers, telling me my child had failed to turn in his assigned weekend homework. How could this be? I saw him put his backpack in the car next to his seat. I heard him doing his work.

Well, you can bet I asked him for an explanation. "Did you lose your homework?" I questioned. He shook his head, No. "Did you leave it in your locker?" I interrogated. Again, he shook his head, No. "Were you afraid your answers were all wrong?" I continued, trying to get at the source of his negligence. Another head shake, No.

"Well what then?" I exasperatedly asked. "Did you just not do it?"

The look in eyes was all the response I needed. "What were you doing the whole time in the car then?" I exclaimed.

"Drawing pictures," he admitted.

"Drawing pictures! Why didn't you do your HOMEWORK!" I shouted. I know I shouldn't shout at my children, but it just happened. I couldn't stop it.

"I forgot to bring home the books I needed."

"So, why didn't you tell me that? Why did you wait for your teachers to e-mail for me to find that out?" I was still yelling.

Sheepishly, he replied, "Because I thought you would fuss at me."

Now, I know what you're thinking. It sounds like it sort of snowballed on him and he was just a kid being a kid; that he didn't have the ability to see into the future and weigh the consequences of his omission, that he was living in the moment, as children do, and the moment caught up with him.

I assure you, information has surfaced that tells me otherwise. Boys plot and plan these things. He knew exactly what he was doing. I am certain of this because I heard the following conversation between two boys in the 6th grade hall of my son's middle school:

Boy 1: I tell you, I've learned something, Buddy.
Boy 2: What's that?
Boy 1: The less stuff you tell your parents, the less trouble you get in.

And there you have it. Boys, when they bother to use their brains, bank on the risk of only getting in trouble on the back end, instead of owning up to their actions and risking getting in trouble on the front AND the backside.

I'm living proof that the boy approach works, because, although I raked my son over the coals, he only had to endure it in the aftermath. Where as, if he had told me of his predicament in the car, I would have chided him into a fetal position then and then again on Monday when I was reminded of it by his teachers.

1 comment:

Mimi Meredith said...

Ah...the "need to know" basis of communication that seems to be inbred in testosterone-based life forms can be interesting at best when it's not embarrassing (because we are the ones who answer the calls and emails from the teachers), frustrating and occasionally heartbreaking.

My oldest son once told my mother-in-law that his consequence for bad behavior was "way worse" than a time out. She asked, "Did your mom spank you." He rolled his eyes and said, "No, worse. She talks to me!"