History homework and the (possibly) lazy teen

Posted on February 15th, 2012

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It’s starting to occur to me that my son, my only child, is lazy.  Oh, I know. It’s shocking, right? I mean, what parent of a teenager would ever think her child is lazy?

Oh, wait. Yeah. Most of us.

Look, I’m not down on teens. I actually like them. They have a way of looking at the world that hasn’t been tainted by age and experience and it’s actually refreshing. And I get that they are under tremendous pressure at their age. SATs. Grades. College admission requirements. All of those may take their toll and make the average teen a little lazy in other areas.

Take yesterday’s homework, for example. I don’t normally help with homework. This is because when Junior was in the second grade and I was helping with homework, both of us came the stunning realization that a) I didn’t understand his math work; and b) he was already smarter than me.

In case you were wondering, that day comes for all parents (some probably later than others). And it is a truly suck-tastic day.

Anyway, Junior decides he’s done with his history because he can’t locate some of the answers in his book. Well, I realize I can help! And I am thrilled. I mean, I love history! I watch BBC America. I watch PBS even when it isn’t pledge week. I watch Downton Abbey. I read Phillipa Gregory. I read that other guy whose name I can’t remember, but he writes thrillers and then did some book about WWII and two others about the history of England.

So I offer to help. And my son, wisely says, “um, no.” Probably because he knows that even though I blather on about watching Masterpiece Theater I also watch every single Real Housewives show ever broadcast. Then I say, “But I know history!” And I begin a rather pathetic sales spiel about how I’m so good at history that I never even had to study it in school, I just read it and loved it.

So finally my son says, “Okay, I’m looking for definitions. I can’t find Josef Stalin.”

Seriously? Seriously? He can’t find freaking Josef Stalin in his freaking textbook? Yeah. I don’t think so. So I ask what other clearly insignificant historical figures he is looking for that he can’t find. He thumbs through his notes and says, “Adolph Hitler.”

Now I look my son, my only child, dead in the eye and I say, “Stalin and Hitler are not in your history book.”

And he looks me dead in the eye and says, “That’s right. Oh, and somebody named Rasputin, too.”

I swear to you, that boy is lazy. What high school history textbook doesn’t have Stalin, Hitler or Rasputin in it? I’ll tell what history book that is, it’s the history book of a lazy boy. Obviously he wasn’t paying any attention in class at freaking all or he would have known that those are some pretty heavy history hitters and they probably have entire pages devoted to them. In fact, for Hitler, it’s probably an entire section.

And yet, my son, my only child, cannot seem to find any mention of the three in his history book at all.  And that can only be because he’s lazy.

But because I am his mother, I know what motivates my son. So I bet him $5 I can find all three in his book in twenty seconds. And boom! I flip to the index, find them and Junior owes me $5.

And I’m betting that he will never make that mistake again. Because even if he’s lazy – he hates to part with a dollar, let alone five.

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7 Responses to “History homework and the (possibly) lazy teen”

  1. M.E. Bellamy Says:

    I love the words you make up, like suck-tastic. I’m glad I’m not the only one that does that!

  2. Marion Says:

    My mother wanted me to let you know that second grade was the grade with me that she also looked at my homework *math homework at that* and said I have no flipping clue figure it out or I’ll have to call someone else :)

  3. Laurie Says:

    LOL @ M E B, I don’t think I can take credit for that word. I’m fairly sure I heard it somewhere…of course I have mom brain so I might be wrong :)

    @Marion, Yay! Another non-math-mommy! I hope you ended up better at math than we did :)

  4. Jennifer Says:

    When my son started 7th grade it took me 2 to 3 hours a night to try and re-teach myself his math. Twice I left the room, hid and cried because I realized I couldnt help my son with his homework. I didnt want him to know that I had forgotten because I dont use it in the “real world” (didnt want him to figure that he wont need it in the “real world” either) – so I pushed through and kept teaching myself how to do it until they got to a point where he understands it and for the past 6 months he hasnt needed any help on any of the new math topics (thank god!) and I havent had to re-teach myself and pretend I know what I am doing.

  5. Laurie Says:

    @Jennifer, I totally feel you. I don’t like telling anyone they won’t need something in the real world either. But holy cow! Relearning math! For me that would be torture. Good for you for pushing through that :)

  6. steph Says:

    I think they aren’t that lazy, they are just unmotivated to do things that they should. Before you jump to conclusions you first understand the situation and not worsen it. We parents play a crucial role in their development, thus, it is our obligation to help motivate them.

  7. Laurie Says:

    Steph, Thank you for commenting. I’m trying to say something nice here, because I get that everyone has a different opinion…but I’m failing. Look, it’s parenting humor. Nobody should take it seriously. I appreciate you reading my work, but I’d love it if you read it as intended – i.e., without your panties in a bunch :)

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