Monday, April 06, 2009

Roll 'um.

My son Nick is a master procrastinator. That being said, he comes by it honestly since both of his parents are woefully bad at deadlines. Still, it is a challenge for me not to pull my hair out in frustration when Nick comes home mentioning a project that needs to be completed. Here is how this conversation usually rolls:

Me: Nick, do you have any homework tonight?

Nick: Ummmmm. Not really. I just have a small thing to do.

Me: What is it?

Nick: Just a small project for English.

Me: (suspicious) Small project for English? How small?

Nick: Oh, it's no big deal...I just have to make a movie.

Me: Oh. (even more suspicious) When is it due?

Nick: Tomorrow.

Me: WHAT? TOMORROW? Are you crazy Nick???

Anyway, you get the jist and all. I wouldn't react as harshly if it were the first time the boy procrastinated. But he's been doing this since 4th grade and giving me a heart attack each time.

Now in the beginning of this habit, I would help him get out of the mess he put himself in. Many a night he and I would stay up and complete a poster board of a famous individual, or a collage, or diorama and the list goes on. But since he has been in Middle School, I rarely help him out of these predicaments. This is a good thing since theoretically he will learn that there are consequences to waiting until the last minute..and that he will learn from that, and that he will start earlier on these projects, and that he will realize that projects that get the best grades are the ones that you slave over....theoretically.

OK, so back to the movie he needed to make.  Nick only had  a few hours to complete the project. 

"Nick!" I exclaimed, "You don't even know HOW to make a movie, much less how to operate the camera or even make a story board! I can't help you out of this mess, Nick. I don't even know how to make a movie!" Nick looked at me calmly and said, "Mom, don't worry..I know what I am doing!" I glared in anger at my 12 year old (having heard that phrase before) and waved him away to start doing whatever he was going to do.Unfazed by my attitude Nick said, "Can I borrow your camera?" "Yes" I reluctantly replied, "but don't break it!"

A few minutes later, a couple of neighborhood kids knocked on the door and asked to see Nick. They had been enlisted by him to be his actors. I heard some running around, bumps and clunks and soon after, they went home.  Nick went upstairs to the computer to begin his editing work.  I just waited.  Waited for my son to do what he normally does in these instances, and that is to come down the stairs whining about how much work he has left to do on his project.  I waited some more.  No Nick.  

After about an hour and a half, knowing that it was late, and feeling Nick's pain a bit I decided  to go upstairs to offer any help.  There he was, sitting at the computer shuffling things around on the screen, typing words, playing with music....all kinds of things.  I walked closer to get a better look.  

I just stood there amazed.  He had basically finished the project  and it was interesting...I mean for a 12 year old who had never made a was amazing!  And I had NO idea how he did it!!  

"Mom, do you like it? What do you think?  Should I add music here?  How about if I add an accent?"  I just sputtered out something like, "Nick, where did you learn how to do this?"  "Oh, remember that movie making camp you sent me to last summer?  I learned it there."  

Oh.  He learned how to make a movie at the movie camp last summer.  Imagine that.  Amazing.  I stood humbled and proud and shocked and a little embarrassed that I did not have enough faith in my son to complete what he said he could complete.  I apologized to Nick and told him that I was delighted in his project.

Before you watch Nick's 47 second movie, I'll let you know that he was to create a movie based on a book he read in class....a short preview of the book, if you will.  

I don't know if he learned any valuable lessons from this project, but he did prove his mom wrong. You GO Nick! I love to be surprised by you.

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