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Teaching Responsibility and Preparedness

When I was in second grade, my mother became a Girl Scout leader.  It was my
first year in Girl Scouts and yes, my mother was my leader.  The
meetings were held in our playroom/basement.  Each week we had to bring
in our dime for dues.  Yup, only 10 cents!  One day, I walked down the
stairs from our living room to the meeting.   It was important to
remember to bring the dues because a Scout earned an award for
remembering her dues.  About 10 minutes into the meeting it was time to
collect the dues.  All of a sudden, I realized I didn't have my dues.  I
told my mother that I was going back upstairs to get it.  "Oh no!" she
said.  "Once a Scout gets to the meeting she can't go 'home'."  Even
though my home was upstairs, my mother treated me like all the rest of
the scouts who certainly couldn't go home if they had forgotten
something.  At the time, I remember I was miserable and very angry at my
mother.  Many times since then, I have thought of that moment as a
defining experience in my life.  It is never too early to teach a child
responsibility and preparedness. 


In the last week, I have gotten many requests to help students prepare
their summer assignments for school.  Mind you, most of them have had
these assignments since school ended in mid June and it is now
September.  In some cases they even waited until the night before school
started to work on them.   These requests sometimes make me  feel like a
lifeguard.  I so much want to help a student who feels like they are
drowning in homework even before the school year begins.


Today, I realized that by not helping them, I might be doing them a favor. 
Like my mother, who taught a 7 year old that being prepared was her own
responsibility, I might just be helping these students to learn not to
wait until the last minute. 


I will do my part though.  I have created a new file in my contacts.  It
is a file of those folks who contact me each summer to help with their
summer math/reading packets.  Next year on July 25th I will be sending
out a mass email reminding them to check their assignments and schedule
their tutoring sessions throughout the month of August; the earlier the
better.


Responsibility is one of those character traits that is difficult to develop unless it
is practiced.  For those parents of students in this situation, don't
continue to enable your children to forget their homework by coming to
their rescue at the last minute.  Let them learn by failure if
necessary.  Otherwise, when they are 45 years old, you might get a call
on April 16 asking you to write them an excuse for not having filed
their taxes.