In the mornings I send the boys off to the bus stop together. Skinny little Jeffrey will be zipped up into his winter coat with his enormous backpack stacked with books weighing down over both shoulders and buckled around his waist, and his large trombone case slung on top of all that. He staggers along like an ant carrying a load that quite possibly exceeds his own body weight. Tim, meanwhile, saunters along with his arms swinging by his sides, hands empty and free.
Yes, I have tried to get Tim to help out his little brother, and he did, once.
What gets me is how their appearance is such an accurate analogy for their school experiences.
Jeffrey has a lot of homework every night and has to work hard to get it all done. Tim almost never has any work to do at home. Tim happened to have what appeared to be an easy schedule the first semester. I was pleased when he requested a more difficult set of social studies classes for the second and third terms. I want him to have to work hard in school because I think that is a good quality to learn. And it would help justify my explanations to Jeff that his efforts in Middle School will pay off when he gets to High School and the classes get really challenging.
Well now Tim is a week into the new semester with his challenging schedule and still isn't bringing any work home. I quizzed Tim about what he did in each class today, and here is what he said:
Biology - colored. (something about filling in a diagram of an eye)
Band - went through Christmas music for the concert.
Economics - played a game
Spanish II - did a crossword puzzle (the words were Spanish)
Language Arts - watched a movie
Jeff complained that Tim's day sounded a lot like Kindergarten. I had to agree.