Two weeks ago David didn’t bring his new spelling list home on Friday. He insisted he put it in his backpack, but the only thing in there were pencils and a few Hot Wheels. When he left for school Monday morning, I reminded him to ask his teacher for a new list.
David came home that afternoon without the list again, insisting once more that it was in his backpack. Tuesday I sent a note to the teacher asking her send another list. That day David finally came home with a list, and a note from the teacher that said it was the third copy of the list she’d given him. David still has no idea what happened to the first two.
Last week David forgot to bring his vocabulary words home on Monday. He forgot on Tuesday also. The tests are on Fridays, and he was running out of time to study. This time I didn’t send a note. I just reminded him again to bring them home. He forgot again on Wednesday. He brought the words home at last Thursday afternoon, leaving only one night to study.
The test hasn’t come home from school yet, so I don’t know if David did well or if he failed miserably. If he failed, it’s the natural consequence of forgetting to bring his vocabulary words home. I hope he learns a lesson that he remembers always.
I wanted to send a note or call the teacher. I didn’t like the idea of him possibly failing the test, and I didn’t want the teacher thinking he failed because I didn’t do my job as a parent and make him study.
But I have an even more important job to do, to teach David to be responsible for himself.
I didn’t intervene with a note to the teacher this time, because I want David to learn self-responsibility. I won’t always be there to send notes or even give verbal reminders. He has to learn to remember things on his own, and recognize the importance of preparing and following through. I want him to know what the consequences are if he doesn’t.
It’s hard to let our kids fail. It’s hard to watch them suffer the consequences, but it’s better for them learn these lessons young when the stakes aren’t high. Someday when they’re older irresponsible actions could lead to dire outcomes.
Is there a time you let your child fail or experience the consequences of their actions instead of swooping in to save them?