On Super Bowl Sunday, we stopped by GameStop after church so my 11-year old son could use his birthday gift card to pick up a new game. He eventually selected NHL ’13, an eagerly pushed me to lean on the gas so that he might play it as soon as possible.
After a couple of hours of game playing, he seemed to be just getting warmed up. We asked him about his homework, making sure that he had done what he needed to do. He said everything was done. Not a surprise. He’d told us the previous day he didn’t have much and had taken care of it. We pulled him off the game for a while, made sure he spent some time reading, then allowed him to go enjoy his new game again.
Later that day, we headed for a friend’s Super Bowl party. Our 11-year old, the football player, was the most excited. However, when we arrived, we found him doing something we didn’t expect. We found him trying to finish his homework before we got there.
Sometime during the time we’d been getting ready, our son had been working furiously, trying to get his homework done. He’d snuck his materials into the backseat, needing that last few minutes to pen his answers.
My wife and I were disappointed in him, feeling that he’d lied to us. We told him he couldn’t play Xbox for a week. His mother also worked with him at the party, making sure his homework was completed satisfactorily. He missed kickoff.
By Thursday, he was trying to cajole us into letting him play, saying he understood he’d done wrong. However, we didn’t bend, making him wait until Sunday.
He awoke on Sunday at the crack of dawn and headed downstairs by himself, his usual fear of the bogeyman overridden by his desire to play Xbox again. We allowed him to play until we thought he’d done enough, then discussed with him the importance that homework comes first.
Hopefully, the lesson sinks in.