It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.

And too much fun can make you go blind!

In other news … Rece and I had a fantastic weekend together! It all started earlier last week when I got a call from his school. His school counselor wanted to let me know that Rece was now officially an 8th Grader.

Last year was a major struggle for Rece. Most of it could be attributed to his attitude about school. Basically he was being lazy, not doing his homework, failing to turn in what little homework he did get done, and lying about doing it. This was a lot of frustration for the both of us as I attempted to find some way of motivating him or giving him an incentive or to help him realize the importance of a good education. Nothing seemed to work.

This year, his mother and I decided to try a different approach. She was unemployed (and not looking for a job) so we figured it might work better if he went to her place after school so she could be there to help him with his homework and also to just make sure he was actually doing it. This happened up until her recent disappearance, and I was under the assumption that everything was hunkydory … the progress report I received from his school told a completely different story.

Whatever he was doing at his mother’s place wasn’t amounting to a hill of beans. It was apparent that she wasn’t following through on what we had agreed upon. Rece had numerous missing assignments and poor test scores from the very beginning of the school year. It seemed obvious to me that the plan wasn’t working at all. Sherise’s unannounced change of the arrangement due to her disappearance helped with my having to make some adjustments to how Rece handled school and his other responsibilities.

The standard privilege revocation came into play for step one. The next step was a renewed focus on ensuring that Rece was dedicating sufficient time toward homework and studying — and that my involvement in it was obvious and committed as well. I felt that it would be important to show Rece that his success was just as important to me as it should be to him. No longer would I just take his word that everything was fine, but my inquiries wouldn’t be from the assumption that he was being untruthful — they’d be from the angle of “show me that you know what you’re studying”. Since then, I’ve noticed he’s taking more initiative in making up the missing work (for partial credit, at least) and seeking extra credit work to help bring up his grade.

His counselor told me that this advancement would come with additional commitments in the form of after-school tutoring on-site at his school 3 days a week. For me this isn’t a problem as I often worry about him spending too much time alone at home between school and my arriving home after work. There are just too many temptations, too many chances for him to stray and go down the wrong path again. With tutoring, I know where he is, I know that he’s under the watchful eye of a teacher, and that he’s making a concerted effort to focus on his eduction with help on-hand from a qualified person. This is a total win-win for both of us!

In order to celebrate his achievement we went out for sushi one night, went out to breakfast both mornings, went to an arcade, went to the beach, played hours of Lord of the Rings Online, visited the library (yes, the library), and went to the movies (Dan in Real Life is a great movie, by the way). Sunday, on our way home from the movies, Rece said, “This weekend was the best ever!” I’d have to agree.

A nice side effect of changing from a negatively-based mentality to an interactive mindset focused on his success has done wonders for not only his attitude toward school, but in our relationship as well. We haven’t gotten along better than we have over the past month. We have fun and enjoy spending time together. I feel closer to Rece now than I have in a very long time. That’s a wonderful thing.

This entry feels especially good about being a dad right now.