“You are receiving this email because your child’s math homework assignments are late. Please address this with them and ensure all homework is turned in on time.”
What do you mean my son’s homework is late? I thought he was good at math. This doesn’t make any sense!
Then the questions started coming into my head fast and furious:
- Is he struggling in math?
- Does he need tutoring?
- Is he cutting class?
- If he’s cutting class, is he hanging with the wrong crowd?
- Do I really know his friends?
- I bet he’s skipping class!
- He’s hanging around some older kids that are influencing him!
- He wants to drop out of school!
- WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON THAT KID!!
When he got home, I took a breath and told him about the email. I was ready for battle depending on what he said. His response; “Yeah dad, I get my work done but I forget my papers in my bag or locker and don’t bring them to class until I remember. I’m just not organized. I’ll try to do better.”
So no cutting class and hanging around with the wrong kids? OK, I can deal with disorganized. After we talked for a little bit, we figured out he needed a new folder that he can carry around at all times. We went and bought it that very night. Within two days, all late homework was turned in!
When I read the email his homework was late, my mind right away went from he needs help to ready to pissed off. I bet this took less than a minute to happen!
This experience was a lesson. We are all faced with issues that arise at any time. Sometimes people mess up. However, you can’t expect perfection all the time. When you need to have a conversation, listen to identify the “TRUE” issue instead of letting your mind create an alternative reality.