Her eyes lit up in excitement when I told her she did not need to do her schoolwork, but only under one very specific condition.
I sat at the computer one morning several weeks ago while all the schools were closed, sipping a cup of black coffee from my favorite local roaster (Valentine Coffee Roasters). I was getting some personal work done before the new to basically everyone “school at home” thing happened again for the day. The only big difference to my morning routine was that I needed to check on an email from the school to see what type of assignments or projects needed to be done that day or week.
The assignments had been pretty standard since the process was pretty much new for everyone. Read some specific pages and then answer some basic questions. Or watch a video and then answer questions. Read a book of your choice and then set up a time with the teacher to discuss online, or give your parents a report on the book and the parent can log the activity.
As time went on we had grown pretty accustomed to the new workflow and daily grind. Of course there had been daily procrastination and struggles along the way, but we had found ways to get refocused and back on track.
Sometime after lunch one day my daughter uttered the words I’m sure we had all heard during those times, “Ugh, I don’t want to do my schoolwork anymore!”
I knew all she had left was to read from a book for thirty minutes. And it wasn’t even a required book, just an arbitrarily picked book that she is not interested in, as she had explained to me during her last book report talk.
Instead of refocusing her energy, I threw her a curveball. I told her she did not need to finish her schoolwork, under one condition.
I told her that I had just received a few copies of a new book about a specific business topic. I explained the general concept of the book, and she had a genuine interest (maybe it was just better than the book she had grabbed for the reading assignment, but nonetheless). Then I made her the offer. I would give her $20.00 if she chose to read the book I suggested and give me a report on it.
That is when her eyes lit up. She did not need to do her schoolwork and she was going to get money for it. She was excited and boasted “Yes!”
I chose that particular book for a reason. It will teach her a skill that she will be able to use her whole life, if she chooses. I chose to offer to pay her for this because there are very actionable items in this book that she can use to take the money she will receive from me and make that money work for her and multiply. The decision and work put into it has to be her decision though.
Her reaction made me smile. It reminded me about when Mr. Miyagi teaches Daniel. He is not just teaching karate, he is teaching a lesson that can be used Daniel’s entire life.
Regardless of what she chooses to do with the knowledge from the book, I know I’ll be able to say to her: “Hai, Danielle-Daughter (Daniel-Son would be weird to say to her), you have done well grasshopper!”