Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lesson #2 - "What Had Happened Was..." Or Taking Ownership For Your Actions

Yesterday was report card night at Man-child's school. I was soo not looking forward to this. I know he is a good student but there is something about getting that report card that makes my stomach turn. As we drove in the car, Man-child started "Mommy, before you get upset, let me tell what had happened was.... ". From that point on, I shut him out cause I knew I did not want to hear excuses. Then I turned him back on so that I would not be too shocked.

I was surprise to see the large turn out of parents. Man-child attends a Charter school that focuses on SAT and College Preparatory courses. After the introduction by the principal and a few reminders about the Flu vaccines, everyone began their search for teachers. Most of the teachers looked like they just came from Iraq - there were very few smiles, a lot of crossed arms, and tight lips. The slow throb in my head had begun.

Man-child directed me to his Technology teacher. The first thing the teacher said was "I am really the librarian teaching this course". OK..... He proceeded to tell me that Man-child was one of his better student but "what had happened was... ". HUH... He explained his grading system and what Man-child needed to do the bring his grade up. I thanked him and we moved on. Next, I spoke with the science teacher, sports director, and health teacher. Things were not going to bad.

Yet, I noticed that as we waited to speak with each teacher, every child, as they tried to explain their grades, began his/her explanation with "what had happened was...". As the parents listened, I notice that the majority believed the child's explanation. Hmmmm .... I thought about this for a minute. A few of the explanations I thought were bold faced lies but it was not my child. I also listened to a few parents say the same thing as they attempted to explain why their child had missed an assignment or two. Since I regularly visit Man-child's school, (yes, I am that parent that sits in the back of the classroom at least once a month), I knew what to expect from him and his teachers.

What bothered me the most was the manner in which everyone made it easy to accept the excuse that followed the statement. No one questioned it or was willing to take ownership for his/her mistake. It started with the student, the parent and a few of the teachers. I began to wonder whether passing the blame has become that much of the norm for today's youth. My head began to ache a little bit more as we waited and I listened to all of the conversations.

I was not pleased with Man-child's grades and he knew I would not be. However, I was proud of him because he took ownership for his grades. He said " Mommy I just did not do the work because I didn't". I was angry but I did not get an excuse. Of course, we were the last to leave and I scheduled appointments to meet with two teachers and the principal later. As soon as we got home, Man-child put his laptop on my bed. (He knew what was coming) At that point I realized that I was doing something right. Lesson learned... "Take ownership for your actions and stand by you decision - good or bad". And Man-child had definately done that.