My daughter, Samantha, is remarkably driven. When given a task, she will work hard at it, investing the time, intellect and the emotion necessary to not only complete it but do an excellent job. She did not get this ability to laser focus from her mother or me and we certainly did not pass it onto our son. But, while the origin remains a mystery, the results do not.
Her drive was most evident, to me, in regards to homework. High school consisted of school, horseback riding (with homework being done in route to and from the barn), dinner, and an evening packed with more homework. It was difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, to drag her away from the books — an issue we never had with her brother.
Don’t get me wrong, I place a high value on education and love that she loved (loves) school. And, for the record, I absolutely acknowledge that given the range of problems parents can have with their teenage children, Samantha doing too much homework wasn’t going to earn her mother and I any sympathy points. But, too much of anything isn’t healthy. As cliché as it may sound, moderation is usually the right way to go.
Sometimes changes are evolutionary and sometimes they are revolutionary. For Samantha, there was an exact date when she first began to break the bonds of doing too much homework: January 18, 2007. That was the day it snowed in Malibu, California.
We live about 20 minutes from Malibu and, early in the evening, I asked Samantha to take a drive and check out the “Malibu Snow.” She said “no, too much homework.”
I asked again about an hour later. Same answer.
Finally, at about 10 p.m., I played the father card and insisted. Reluctantly, she joined me. We found the snow, had a snowball fight, built a snowman (a very small one) and had a great time. The world didn’t end, she still got into a great college and a valuable lesson was learned.
Samantha is still intense and focused, and I have no doubt she always will be and that she’ll be as successful as she wants to be. But, when it feels to her dad like it’s going a little too far, I simply offer an alternative. I say the magic words “Snow Day” and we are off and running.