Parents’ Homework

In order to get Wizard into the Intercept program of Outward Bound, we (meaning “me”) had to fill out an extensive application:  psychological, physical, emotional, medical. It must have been at least 15 pages, not including the references I had to get from the rabbi, the medical releases and records from physicians, etc. I don’t really think WineGuy fully understood how much paperwork I had to do just to get the kid enrolled in the course.

Now, we have homework. Lots of homework. The program just emailed us the Parent/Guardian Workbook, which is 23 pages long. Each parent must complete one, so we’ve successfully killed a whole grove of trees  for Outward Bound’s paperwork. It’s not enough that they’re going to (hopefully) brainwash the child into better behavior, OB now wants to impose its special brand of “woo” on us. To wit,

This time to yourself is an important opportunity to reflect on yourself, your relationship with your child, and your expectations for reuniting at the end of the month. By taking time to answer the … questions, you will increase your ability to bring home the successes, the life lessons, and the communication tools  your teenager will be learning.

How about if I just do that right now, right here?

Reflections of myself: I screwed up my kids. I raised them the same way I was raised and didn’t make too many improvements, but I did the best I could. I made a lot of mistakes and wish I could take back words and actions. But, I can’t. I accept the damage I’ve done and can only move forward.

Relationship with my child: Through everything, I think I’ve maintained the lines of communication with Wizard. We get along OK. We laugh together. He gets a little rough with me — and everyone else — and he needs to stop that. Yes, I do hope to learn to hear my child better and create a less combative environment. IMVHO, the relationship that needs the most work is that between WineGuy and Wizard. WG doesn’t think so. In fact, WG is in such a state of denial (or inertia or old age) that he basically refused to go to Maine to attend the Parent Seminar and pick up Wizard. Fine. I’ll go. A day early so I can spend a little time with my dear friend, Squib, in her hometown. And then, I’m going to stay in a charming B&B, in a charming little town, all by myself, and enjoy a little break. Nyah.

Expectations: I expect Outward Bound to kick Wizard’s ass, to  leech out the attitude, and burnish in a little gratitude.  I expect my kid to come back home with some motivation to do something other than play Wii and read “Top Gear”. I want my kid back. I want to see the boy who is excited to learn, to do a good job in his tasks, and to take pride in a job well done. I want to see a kid find his heart, his passion about something meaningful instead of materialistic. I expect this kid to finally get the message about working hard in all things because that’s the right thing to do,  that’s how you get ahead in this world, and it’s how you get what you want — things are not just handed to you.

I think I’m being realistic in part of my expectations. Knowing Wizard’s utter disdain for authority, I don’t really anticipate he’ll be an entirely changed child. But, if he came back with a scintilla of appreciation for all that he has and all that he can be, I would be so happy.


One thought on “Parents’ Homework

  1. While I reject the notion that you screwed up your kids, I think it’s great that you are laying out reasonable expectations. I wish WG would be more cooperative and will cross my fingers that he comes around. He’s headied for a collective kick in the butt from several dozen Aug96 moms!

    Could Outward Bound recommend a counsellor in your area with whom he might be willing to speak?

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