At home, I put things off. The laundry, for example. I know it needs to be done, and I understand that if I did just one load a night I would feel so relieved when the weekend came around. But, no. I put it off because I hate doing it, and then I’m in a panic on Sunday evenings, washing/drying/folding like a madwoman! But it gets done. We’ve never had to go to work or school without clean underwear.
When I’m at work, I need deadlines. Whether they are given to me or I make my own. I always stick to my deadlines, but I complete the task at the last minute. When there are things to be done with no set deadline, I put them off. I tell myself that I will get to it later. Or maybe tomorrow. I crave the urgency. Luckily this job consists of frequent urgent requests that I must respond to immediately. I know my stuff. I whip up a spreadsheet with an explanation and everyone is happy. They rely on me. It’s an adrenalin rush.
Hubby is nothing like me. He writes lists, he plans ahead, he keeps a day planner and follows a schedule. It kills him to leave things to the last minute. He is not a go-with-the-flow type person (like me), he needs to have a plan. In the mornings he is up, showered, dressed and has time to check his email before he heads out the door for work and arrives ahead of schedule. I am always rushing out the door in a panic, no matter what time I get up, and get to work at the last
All of this brings me to my next subject: Our son, J. J is twelve. He is not concerned about his future, his grades, his health, or even his hygiene. Well, he wants all of those things to be good, but he somehow expects that they will turn out that way without any effort on his part. We constantly encourage him, and he is starting to improve (especially with the hygiene. It's a good thing because he has hit puberty), but he still has a way to go. His is a very bright boy, and in sports he has incredible talent. But in school or at baseball, he is usually satisfied with being good, rather than taking a step further to really shine. He rarely brings homework home, even though we are constantly on his case, and we don’t find out about tests until after the fact. Luckily he still manages to pull out great marks, but I’m seeing a trend. He doesn’t work hard and he leaves things until the last minute. I am not a good role model when it comes to the last-minute thing.
An example is a recent school project that was assigned to J's class. A notice was sent home months ago that there would be an international fair at school. The students had to choose a country and prepare a report, a presentation and also a type of food from that country for students and guests to sample. The fair is this Thursday. As of last Thursday, nothing was even started. We had months! I think it’s been three months that we knew about it. He didn’t bring it up and we didn’t push him. I don’t even know how this happened. But now, we’re all in it together.
J chose Cuba for his country so on Friday, I printed off pictures from the internet and Hubby bought Bristol board and other supplies. Over the weekend, we got J to sit down to start a draft report and we scoured the internet looking for an easy Cuban recipe. On Monday and Tuesday evening, J researched and wrote some more, and I cut out the color photos and started to organize them on the Bristol board. I worked for over three hours last night, just cutting and pasting and organizing. But
My biggest issue with all of this is that J signed up for this project with two other boys in his class. It was supposed to be a group project. He told us that neither of the other kids have done anything on it. I suggested that maybe one of them could provide the food. He doesn’t want to rely on them to do it, and I don’t blame him. So J will have the whole project completed on time – the report, display and food – and his friends will also take credit for it. At this point, I feel it’s too late to tell their parents about it (assuming they don’t know), and I would also feel really bad if they got a zero on the project (even though it’s what they deserve), because it’s worth a lot of marks. I am torn.
Are you a procrastinator? Do you follow a set schedule or fly by the seat of your pants? What do you think about assisting children with their school projects? Do you think we should let J’s friends take credit for the project?