Parent-child conferences

This has nothing to do with school. I don't go to parent/teacher conferences anymore because (at least at the middle school) the teachers are not part of the process. Seriously. In fact, there was an email recently from the principal at the middle school that read:

"To best accommodate the greatest number of parents with concerns, we suggest that you consider only visiting teachers in whose class your child is struggling or those with whom you as a parent have a question that needs to be discussed in person."

So I didn't even go. Why bother when all I do as a parent is sit across a lunch table from my own son who I see every day after school and talk about his grades for 2 minutes? Instead, I logged onto the gradebook (which is available online), looked at Matt's grades, decided they were good, searched for missing assignments (none), and asked him how he thought he was doing in school. He said fine. I did that all without leaving my house. I wasted neither gas nor time. 


Let me start again. This has nothing to do with school.

I have been missing my Paulie. He is rarely home, and when he is, he hardly talks. I tried to engage him in meaningful conversation about his life this morning on the way to seminary. I realize that 5:45 a.m. is a difficult time for anyone to say anything meaningful, but I had him captive in the van. He rebuffed all my efforts with a grunt.

After seminary, I jokingly said, "You're so close to getting a failing grade in family life.  In order for you to pass this semester in the Shoebox household, you will need to report to me after school and tell me in at least five sentences per class about your day. And you will have to include everything funny that someone did." This elicited a small smile out of Paul, who replied, "Nothing happens at school."

Now, I know that is not true. I went to high school once (or twice) and every day there was some sort of DRAMA!!!!!  

So I said, "OK then, if you refuse to talk, you will need to write an essay on each class." 

He laughed. 

I continued, "I just really haven't talked to you lately. We haven't conversed lately."

He argued that we have too had conversations, so I said, "I need proof. Five examples of conversation with a date and time of the conversation.  And points off for any incident that involves teasing a sibling." 

Hayley, who was also in the car, launched into a complaint about Paul tormenting Matt yesterday, which resulted in Matt yelling really loudly, "PAUL STOP IT." 

Then Hayley wanted to know what her family grade was, and I told her A. Then I amended it to A- because she still hasn't finished her Halloween costumes. She asked what Matt's family grade.  A, of course, I can't get through at day without several lengthy conversations with him (some actually do make sense even). She asked what EJ's grade was.  I gave him an A because he's preparing to serve a mission and even if he didn't call to get an appointment for immunizations, he did clean the bathroom yesterday.

Katie gets an A too because she is going to college and has a job. 

Hopefully Paul can bring his grade up. Maybe we'll get something out of him when Cross Country is over. Last race tomorrow.  I will be keeping my family grade up by going to watch him run.


TaterBean said…
YAY for getting an A! :) I love A's!
Jen said…
If conversation was the only thing that counted, then Annie would have an A+ with all the possible extra credit turned in. Mimi would be at a C because she really only talks to tattle or launch into operatic verses. Violet is for sure getting an A because she's so dang cute and loves to talk, too.

Poor Paul, he just has his own way of doing things which doesn't include much talking.
Jenni said…
That is too funny. Maybe I can call him and have another delightful conversation. Do I get an A for having called you and talked the other day? I think it is funny how Hayley downgraded herself on account of the Halloween costumes. I hope she didn't cry.
Mike said…
Ha! Paul and I talk non-stop when he and I are together. I just dont get the apparent dichotomy. Good for Hayley on making her Halloween costume, I saw it on the other post and approve very much.
Jake said…
I think that Paul is very much like Dave was at that age. Grunting to converse and fully invested in cross country running. What is it with runners anyway? :) Mom used to have similar concerns with Dave when she would take him to school. I think Dave was failing in "family" also. 'Tis curious the circle of life. Maybe this is one of those occasions where the parent hexes the child and says, "When you are a parent, I hope your kids act the same way as you kids do now." So whatever you/we did wrong when we were kids, Mom's wish is coming true. I would blame Mom, not Paul. Chuckle. I'll let her know this morning when I see her.