Here is my daughter, 11, in the Gifted and Talented Education program and unwilling to challenge herself, all because she allows each of ours worst enemy "procrastination" to hold her back.

Her step-father and I have spent all year working with her teacher, principal and school counselor trying to get that monkey off her back. Finally, it was time to teach her one of the toughest lessons in life: what the repercussions are for a person's choices.

With only one-month left of school, I finally just retired my constant nagging and decided if she wants to fall on her face, then perhaps that is what she needs. I call it tough love and child physiologists probably call it the wrong tactic.

Her report card finally came and of course I told her she would be spending all summer catching up and grounded, so she better enjoy her vacation with her brother and dad. I let her know all of her lying and manipulating everyone all year did not lie on her report card.

I was upset and justifiably so, not because I felt I failed as a parent, but on the contrary... she failed to achieve her fullest potential. At that moment I did not tell her that. I decided to let her stew about mom being upset with her for a while.

Since she obviously did pay attention and learn something, so that she could pass the grade equivalency test, she does get to go onto the next grade level.

I could not hold her back so she could participate in class this time, so I thought long and hard about a quote I could make up and turn into a poster for her room, stickers for the mirror in the bathroom, a sign on the fridge and anywhere else I could think of to put it.

At last, I finally came up with one that included the word she and everyone else who knows her has been talking about "procrastination".

"Procrastination never won a race, received a promotion or changed the outcome of any situation."

Then, I kept thinking about how true this is...

If a fireman procrastinated about going into a burning building to save a child, it could mean the difference between life and death.

If a policeman drove 55 mph to the scene of an accident, it could mean the difference between life and death.

If an employee decided to wait a few days to apply for a promotion, they would never be considered and I could go on and on.

So, for this summer, my daughter will not be grounded, because the damage is done, but she will be learning some life skills as well as what the consequences are for her every action when she chooses to allow procrastination to win.

On top of that of course, she will be working on educational tutorials and I have one project that will be completed, to write an essay on procrastination. She will have to think up situations of when doing so would destroy our nation, mean the difference between life or death and the things that will hold us back in life.

That will be her key and when she gets that, it will unlock the door to a future of commitment... I can't do it for her; I can only give her the tools.

Copyright © 2002 Katrina A. Stull

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