As the school year heads into the last final push, the frantic crush to finish, the burden often seems heavy, not only for the child but for the parent. For foster parents, this has an added challenge. So today I share this meditation, born out of that frustration.
I am not a homework warden!
They just don't get it. I know that teachers expect parents to be able to motivate their kids to do schoolwork. But I can't do that for him. Other kids can be motivated by their parent because since early childhood they have worked to please their parents and to earn their praise. Sure, adolescents rebel, but the emotional ties are still there, built on years of loving care. I don't have that luxury. I don't have that bond to use as a carrot or as a stick. No one seems to understand that he doesn't yet care enough about me to be motivated by me. Not yet. I can't be the warden that cajoles and coerces him to finish that science project, memorize those math facts, study for that history test, or even just read five pages each night. Some days it is all I can do to get him to accept that I am the grownup in charge. Help me become a parent figure to him. Help him begin to care. Help me to survive until he cares, or until teachers understand. I cannot be a homework warden. I am still struggling to be the parent for him. He needs to let me be a parent to him far more than he needs me to be a homework warden.
Excerpted from "The Caring Heart Speaks: Meditations for foster, kinship, and adoptive parents" by Gail Underwood Parker Artwork by Anna Parker David from the book cover.