Last night was Parents Night in my mom's second-grade classroom, and as usual, the parents who have never had a second-grader before were nervous about homework.
What if my child doesn't know how to do it? What if my child won't do it? How do I deal with this traumatic new development in my child's life?
You think I'm being sarcastic, particularly with that last question, but based on the fear and angst my mom has described in the faces and voices of these parents around the homework issue, I'm not. In fact, I may be understating the hysteria.
Of course, every child takes to homework differently: some will embrace it and handle it well, while others will hate it, resist it, refuse to do it, and melt down at the mere mention of it. But to patiently explain this is unlikely to calm parental fears.
So instead, my mom does what she does every year: she tells these parents a story. About me.
She tells them that I hated homework. That I would avoid it like I avoided eggplant. That I would fall out of my chair while attempting to do homework. That I would get up half a dozen times to sharpen my pencil. That I would get up another half a dozen times to go to the bathroom. That on top of all of that procrastination, I would pout, and scream, and cry, and insist that homework was dumb, but that eventually, I would give in and do the homework, and it wouldn't be that bad.
Until the next night, when the masochistic ritual would begin again.
Somehow, this story, along with the assurance that despite its frightening truth I not only graduated from elementary school, but also from high school and college, and am today a productive, contributing member of society, makes the parents feel that they, too, can handle their child's attempt to handle homework.
They understand that it may not be pretty, and that it many not be fun, but hearing that story lets them know that at least they and their child will survive.