Ways back in the early days of my career I worked with a guy who used to bitch and moan to me about how much he hated his children’s homework. Virtually every day he’d wail about how miserable it was to work all day and then to come home to helping his children with hours of homework.
I remember asking him why he was doing it when it was their homework. It seemed ridiculous to me that a parent would have to do something like that. Now of course I knew kids whose parents had done their homework for them. But that had been tied into a whole competitive thing in which they were determined to make sure that little Johnny won first place at the science fair.
During one particularly tedious bitch session I told my officemate that I was tired of listening to him kvetch and that if he taught his children to be responsible he might have some time to himself. As you can imagine in my early twenties I was a master of tact and diplomacy.
Surprisingly enough Curt laughed at my comment and said that one day I would learn for myself that “homework was punishment for parents as well as children.” I can’t say that I remember my exact response, but I am sure that it involved an eye roll, a head shake and some muttered comment.
Well years later I have come to learn that homework isn’t just for children, parents get to do it too. I am not as cynical or worn down as Curt so I won’t whine about it here. I am very involved with my children’s education so helping with homework comes with the territory.
I understand Curt’s lamentation far better than I did then. Right now I am involved in homework because my children’s time management skills aren’t good enough to get things done without help. Someone has to monitor them so that they get things done because without guidance homework would be relegated to the very last thing to be done prior to bedtime which would become a real nightmare.
But what Curt was really speaking about were these intricate projects that they kids get. They’re surprisingly complex and that is where mom and dad really get involved because without help they wouldn’t get done. So to paraphrase Pacino, “just when I thought I was done they sucked me back in again.”
And now if you’ll excuse me it is time to work on another science project.