Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Mr. Cool and His Swiss Cheese Brain
Several recent scientific findings show that the average teen-aged brain has a hole in it. For example, a Pediatric Neurologist in Boston, Dr. Frances Jensen was quoted in an article by Richard Knox,
"Scientists used to think human brain development was pretty complete by age 10. Or as she puts it, that 'a teenage brain is just an adult brain with fewer miles on it.'
But it's not. To begin with, she says, a crucial part of the brain — the frontal lobes — are not fully connected. Really.
'It's the part of the brain that says: "Is this a good idea? What is the consequence of this action?" ' Jensen says. 'It's not that they don't have a frontal lobe. And they can use it. But they're going to access it more slowly.'"
Uh, huh. Yep. I could have saved the researchers a whole lotta dough if they had just asked my opinion.
Here's the story:
So. Mr. Cool came home from school yesterday, and I greeted him with homemade cookies (healthy and tasty!) and a, "How was your day?"
After listening, empathizing, and just slathering the boy with love, I gently asked him to do two things:
1) Go next door and help the sweet elderly lady in her yard for 30 minutes, and
2) Clean his job and bedroom.
I left to pick up the elementary school kids from school. As I left I added that when he was finished, he could go to his friends house and stuff his brain with video games.
When I returned a little while later, Mr. Cool was on the computer checking the latest sports news.
I opened the discussion with a letter I had just received about a HS that had sent us some info. It works with an adjoining college, which allows the students to earn credits for both schools, and graduate from Hs with an associate's degree from the college. I talked him into letting me put his name into the lottery for the school, while he applied online for another similar school nearer to our home. He's a smart kid, and could save himself a TON of time and money if he does it this way.
So far, so good. Then...
"Son, did you go next door?"
"Is your job done and your room clean?"
"Great! I'm going to vacuum, so stick around a minute in case there is more that you need to do in there, and then when you're finished next door, you're free." I said all of this very brightly, with only kindness.
(Artist's Rendition of what I found--minus the candy wrappers and crusty dishes.)
So, I put on my authoritative voice and called Mr. Cool to task.
After twenty minutes of nagging and cleaning (I worked right along with him), the Family Room was done, and the bedroom was coming along.
Then the friend called, and the battle ensued. (Red ink is Mr. Cool speaking.)
"Mom! You LIED to me!"
"What? I told you that you could go when you were finished. Finish your room, and then go next door and work in the yard for 1/2 hour, and you're done."
This is what I said, but what he heard may have been more like, "BRUHAHA!!! YOU'LL NEVER BE FREE! YOU'LL BE TRAPPED IN THIS WHITE-SLAVERY RING UNTIL YOU'RE TOO OLD TO HAVE YOUR OWN TEETH!"
"I've been working for you for FOUR hours! YOU never do ANYTHING! ALL day long, you're in the chair, on the computer--I'm gonna follow you around with a video camera!"
"Son, you haven't even been home for four hours, and if you hadn't gotten on the computer when I left to pick up the kids, you would have been done with your jobs and could go play. And, you lied to me when you said your job was done and it wasn't."
What he possibly heard, "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH."
"All afternoon I've been helping you and making you feel good about yourself by letting you think you were getting something done! I should be able to go and relax! That's all you've been doing today!"
Pretty much all I could do at that point was laugh at that absurd little guy and tell him to let his friend know that he wouldn't be coming.
For the record, Mr. Cool was grouchy for a while longer, but later that night he apologized. (He never did go next door, but he'll be home from school in exactly four minutes...)
I apologized for laughing at him. And now I apologize for blogging him, and to all the copyrights I violated in this one blog alone.
SO SUE ME!