Monday, September 21, 2009

Can Ya Help A Brother Out? And Help His Son At The Same Time?

Today, I need to take a break from writing about politics, society, stupid people, and well, stupid people.

Did I say that already? Anyhoo…

I want to ask a favor of you fine folks. As I discussed last Friday (link HERE), my son is slacking in doing homework assignments…again.

When he does his assignments he does well in school and his grades are pretty damn good; when he doesn’t…ummmm, not so much.

He’s in High School now, and grades matter not only in his desire to go to college, but they also affect his ability to play basketball this fall and in the most extreme case, to remain in the private school which he enjoys incredibly.

I have no doubt that he loves his mom and me, but I am certain that our continuous “reasoning” with him on the homework matter can at times, become white noise.

I spent a little over an hour with him after work Sunday and helped him to prepare for two tests and a quiz that take place today. He does better when I am right there with him, however…

Ryno will be 15 next month and it is more than realistic to expect that neither his mom nor I, should have to watch over him when it comes to him doing his homework and studying for tests and quizzes.

We have told him that school is his job, and he needs to step up and do it well.

I have often told him that I would rather see him get a C on something knowing that he worked his ass off, rather than getting a B when I know he could have gotten an A.

The main point being…Quit slacking and do your best, Dammit!!

So what is the favor of which I am asking..?

In order for Ryno to hear advice, encouragement, and wrath from people other than his mom and dad, teachers, and the other usual suspects, I’d like for you guys to give him some of those same things.

If you would like to leave a few words for Ryno in regards to this matter, leave them with me in the comments.

I am going to compile all of your words of wisdom, print them off, and hang them in his bedroom.

Please keep your comments somewhat clean, and if you would, please note your city and/or state in which you live.

He’d think it’s cool to know that people from across the nation and the world are calling him out and trying to help him out as well.

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your sage advice in the comments, go ahead and shoot me an e-mail. And it will be between you, me, and Ryno’s wall.

Be funny, be clean, and impart any pearls of wisdom that you may have for the boy. He’s a good kid…

He’s just…well, lazy when it comes to schoolwork, and perhaps oblivious as to how important this time is to his future.

I thank you in advance my friends.



Clay Perry said...

we had the same problem with our 15 year old last year... class grades & test scores were good, yet he never did his homework. we used some of the same points that you have used, "it's your job, just like our jobs are to go to work & put food on the table.." it was when he suffered the consequences of his actions that his attitude toward completing his work changed.. little things like loss of privileges of going out, playing video games, computer time, tv time, and then after school activities were threatened, clubs etc... you have to maintain the grades... you have to work to play... my dad once told me something that stuck with me... "life really isnt that hard, just do what you have to do and everything else will fall into place" i took that to heart & realized that its true. i have told my son & indeed several younger relatives this simple truth.. if you just do what you have to do without any drama, discussions or being told to do it, you pretty much can write your own ticket. imagine doing your homework, cleaning your room & helping out around the house without being told to.. your parents will be so pleased that after a while, you'll find yourself being able to get away with things that are actually fun.. you'll discover that they wont care near as much as about what you really want to do if you just meet your responsibilities first...

katherine. said...


Matt-Man said...

Clay: Thanks. We've imparted much of what you just said. Nothing seems to sink in for whatever reason. I am going to pass all of this along to him, because as I said...

It may make a difference coming from someone other than the usual suspects. Thanks again, Clay. Cheers!!

Kat: That's It? That's your advice!? ; )~ Cheers Kat!!

katherine. said...

I'm thinking.

It's been a long fun filled weekend and I don't want to just fire off the cuff like I usually do in this little box.

Matt-Man said...

Kat: Ha. I know. I mean, I knew what ya meant; I didn't know you had a fun-filled weekend, but I'm glad that you did. Cheers Kat!!

Candice said...

Hey Ryno. It's me, Candice from Dallas Texas.

Look kid, you really need to get your *beep* in gear. Trust me, I screwed around for the longest time and it took me over 10 years to get a 2 year degree. Now im a glorified drug pusher/ass wiper.

Needless to say, education is where it's at. If that fails, you can always marry into money. The latter isn't exactly that easy for dudes to do, so you better go the educational route.

If nothing else, I can promise you that if you get A's and B's for the rest of the year, I will personally send you a picture of my rack just as soon as you come "of age".

Okay, so I'm kidding about the rack picture.

Buckle up kiddo! You'll be glad that you did.

Matt-Man said...

Candice: Ha. Actually I'll print most of that off, but I think his mom my have a problem with some of it.

How about if he gets all A's and B's the rest of the year, you'll send his dad a picture of your at the end of the school year. Cheers Candice!!

Candice said...

Fine Matt. It's for a good cause.

Mic said...

Hey Ryan

If I had done more of my school work when I was in school maybe I wouldn't struggle so hard now to write a few sentences to help a friend. I only met you because I went to meet your dad to see if he could help me write a book. I slacked in High School and more than likely wouldn't have even been accepted in college if I even tried. I don't want to count how many times I wish I put more effort into English and Math. If you screw up in High School, trust me, an old fool, you WILL live to regret it.

Damn! I wish I knew how to write a paragragh.

Scott Oglesby said...

Hey Ryno,

This is Scott and I’m currently living in Southern Spain. I can say with certainty that I was just like you in many ways. I played on my high school football team, and I thought that I was (I was) the hottest thing in town. I was pretty smart too, and in junior high and 9th grade I barely had to study and I’d get really good grades. But as the classes progressed, I started lagging further behind. On Friday I might get an interception for a touchdown and on Monday come to school panicked because I didn’t study for a test. But that was ok because people liked me and I was cool. Anyway, as time went on my A’s eventually slipped all the way to D’s. Enough to almost get me suspended from play. I hit the books at that point and got my butt in gear, enough to stay eligible at least. I didn’t have anybody around at all to help me, or push me, or tell me about life. I thought football and partying would go on forever.

Once I graduated, I very quickly learned of my mistakes. I had to go to a community college before I could even get into the school that I wanted to go to (Pitt) While I had to struggle and work my way through that lowly place, most of my friends enjoyed the benefits of a good college. Many even joined fraternities and had the time of their lives. Admittedly, I still slacked a little but eventually did get into Pitt. However it was all of these years later that I really, really saw what was up. Those kids that studied their butts off are living in million dollar homes and driving the best cars. Money isn’t everything, not by a long shot, but it does make everything so much easier. And while the American dream is still alive and well, you do need that good education to achieve it. Also I’ve learned how important it is to approach everything “balls to the wall” as your coach would say. (If he’s a good coach) If you start taking the attitude that you don’t care about any one thing, it’s so much easier to develop that attitude towards everything else in your life. Especially if things start to go wrong. I’ve finally learned to approach everything with passion and commitment, and now I’m finally seeing the results of that commitment. I’m finally doing what I love for a living. I’m a writer and I work in advertising. I get to come up with really funny ideas to sell stuff, and I laugh almost all day long. At the end of this I’ll send you a viral that I helped to create.

Ryno, you have all of the resources to live a life most people only dream of. You have the skills at sports, you have the brains, and you have the support system with both of your parents being willing and able to help you succeed. Take a very honest look at the adults on the periphery of your life. Ask yourself which ones of them strove to succeed in everything they did, and which ones just didn’t care. Then ask yourself which ones of those people you would like to be like in 10 or 20 years. Look kid, I know that you can do it, you know that you can do it, so just do it. Believe me your 30 year old self will thank you!!! You’re lucky to have such a great dad too! Take advantage of everything life gives you, it’s the only way you can really, really live! I wish you the best of luck both athletically and academically!

Do good man!!

You can Call me AL said...

Ten things every kid should know

1. Accept Your Power of Choice
Success is the intentional, pre-meditated use of choice and decision. Unless you choose–with certainty–what it is you want, you accept table scraps by default! The quality of your future years is largely determined by the quality of the choices you make when you are young.

2. Respect Reality – Face the Facts
True and accurate information is essential to success. Reality is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Deny reality, and you will soon discover that life is a game of truth or consequences. Tell the truth and demand the truth from others, otherwise you’re toast.

3. Take Responsibility – Make No Excuses
Excuses are convenient, temporary scapegoats. Sometime, somewhere and somehow they will come back and make things very uncomfortable. Dreams die under a burden of excuses; they are a character deficiency, which destroys your potential. Make a no excuses policy and stick to it!

4. Character Counts!
Everything you say, and do complements or compromises your character. Always do the right thing, because having character is much more important than being a character. When all is said and done, all a person has is their character and integrity nothing else really matters.

5. Make Everything Count
Every thought, decision, and action moves you closer to or further from your goals. Look at it this way, if you spend an hour exercising you have just moved north towards a healthier life, if after, you have a greasy cheeseburger and fries you have now gone south – got it?

6. Practice Self-Discipline
If you don’t discipline yourself, you are sure to be disciplined by others. Every act of self-discipline moves you toward your goals, and every exception takes you off course. Don’t believe me, huh? Chew on this, run up your credit cards real high, be late on a few payments and see how quickly those companies are to teach you a thing or two about discipline.

7. Continue Your Education
There will never be a day that will not require dedication, discipline, good judgment, and energy. Life is an ongoing journey, with lots of beginnings and continuations. We get better when we do better and we do better when we know better. Education is the ONLY answer!

8. Commit to Excellence
A commitment to excellence can help you capture true wealth and realize the inherent value of your potential. A lack of commitment devalues potential, credibility, and reputation. Mediocrity is a choice—not always made consciously—but still a choice. Choose excellence!

9. Learn From Failure
Sorry kid, but your not going to win them all. Failure serves an indispensable function in the production of your success. It provides information for you to learn from and apply. So don’t cry and suck your thumb when you lose, get back in the game better prepared to win.

10. Have Fun
Life is short, so enjoy it while you can. You are accountable for all you do as well as for the permitted pleasures that you fail to enjoy during your lifetime. Count the day, week, and life lost if you have not laughed or if you have not played because fun is essential to the good life!

Good Luck Ryno!
"Be an 11" in all you do!
Al (Coachers)

Matt-Man said...

Candice: Woo Hoooooo. Praise Jeebus!!

Micky: Very nice, and he will know who this coming from. The last sentence? Nice touch, you old fool, you. Cheers Mick!!

Scott: Thanks alot my good man. I'll lie and tell him that you also know Spanish B-Ball pehnom, Ricky Rubio personally. He'd dig that. Kidding, I won't.

Looooved your monkey ad. Funny stuff. Although, it also reminded me of the drive-thru zoo scene from The Omen. That was freaky. Cheers Scott!!

Matt-Man said...

Al: I knew you'd be chiming in Mr. Coach-Man. Great rules for anyone and eveyone to follow. Thanks for taking the time Al, and Cheers to ya!!

Lu' said...


Don’t be a schlubb! Adults always say stay in school blah blah blah. We don’t say it to hear ourselves talk we say it because we KNOW from experience it can make a difference in the quality of your life later. God willing there will be a whole lot of later in your life and you want it to be the best it can be right? I pretty much flaked out from the first week of High School. I didn’t graduate, and yes it bugs me to this day 33 years later, but I achieved my G.E.D. big whoop it isn’t the same thing. I make out OK but I know I could have been much more, done much more and that is a lousy feeling.
Middletown, PA.
Formerly San Francisco Bay Area, California

P.S. getting your Pop’s attention through negative behavior is the wrong way to get it. Just give him a call, tell him you want to hang out. If you don’t want to ask him to hang out then tell him. He isn’t a mind reader despite the appearance of his head. He can’t be that different from how he portrays himself on his blog and that guy would welcome the time with you.

Here's hoping...

Matt-Man said...

Lu: You put a giant smile on my face yet again Lu.

Great words my friend. And please, I understand how you feel about not graduating from High School, but don't knock the GED.

When I worked where Schmoop still works, I was intimately involved with many GED programs. The people working for their GED, work just as hard as traditional graduates do, and often times while trying to raise a family. I know...maybe it's not quite the same as a High School degree but...

GED recipients will always have a special place in my heart. Cheers and Hugz Lu!!

Dianne said...

Hey Ry-Man
I know your Dad calls ya Ryno but I have a constant, endless need to be different and difficult
Plus you do give me the impression you are going to grow into one hell (too dirty?) of a man

I'm Dianne and I live in NJ (don't hold that against me) I have lived most of my life in NYC

I got straight A's thru most of school, it really came easy and so I started being a wise girl
I skipped, I grew a giant attitude, and I eventually smarted me way out of all the good stuff
Now I'm 54 and well, it just wouldn't look the same to put on a prom dress and be a real kid
I'm going to regret that, I have regretted that for a long time

So along comes my son Jeffrey - he's 36 now
Jeff played every sport and was good at most
he was VERY good at football
he was also awful about school
his homework looked like the ramblings of a mad man
he blew off tests
once he took a test by filling in patterns with his #2 pencil
today he swears he wishes he had stabbed himself with the pencil instead
he had a chance to go to a fancy prep school because of his football talent but they couldn't find a way to take him because of his grades, and more importantly - his terrible scholastic attitude
I'm not going to BS you and say his life is ruined, he has a good job and a wife and a baby BUT ...
he has these moments when he tells me he wished he had listened to me - and to his own inner voice
somewhere in all his attitude back then, as there was with me too, he knew he was short changing himself

and I think you're smart enough to know that too

PLUS my sweet young man
women truly do appreciate a smart man - and they appreciate hard work
they might go on a first date with the comic or the bad boy or the attitude but it wears off real quick

So - I think you know that in the end the person you're being the most unfair to is YOU
and YOU deserve better

it takes less energy to just do the work than it does to find all the ways to get around it

In another life I would have had a huge crush on you in school so don't make the 15 year old me cry
or have to send my Brooklyn niece there to kick your ass

Matt-Man said...

Dianne: Ha. As I can't top that, I have but a short response to that comment...

That was pure poetry. Thanks Di!! It was purrrr-fect. Cheers!!

Phfrankie Bondo said...

Dir Ryno:

Lurn gud at skool or wynd up riting lyke me.



Matt-Man said...

Phfrankie: Ha. That's phfunny. "Riting Lyke Me" would be a great name for a band. Cheers P-Man!!

Dana said...

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”

~ Anne Frank

Your parents have given you the gift of good advice (*hint* it usually sounds like nagging) and the "right" path (*hint* it's that one that takes longer and requires much more effort than the one you'd prefer to choose). The character part is the choice you make - the choice between listening to the nagging and following the right path, or thinking your life experience is greater than that of your parents. Be humble on this one ...

Bond said...

Matt did the same thing in HS...even when he did the homework, he forgot to turn it in...A's became B's and B's became C's...

RYNO...Homework is as important as the tests dude...

Matt-Man said...

Dana: And the humble part came Friday, when I absolutely, through experience, destroyed every excuse he made. I don't revel in it, but it had to be done. Thanks for the words. Cheers Dana!!

Bond: Holy Crap...I have seen him do his homework as well and then we hear that he never turned it in. WTF? Thanks Vinny.

Have you'se guyz had your first fight yet? I hope so...C'mon, help keep marriage real. Cheers Vin!!

Jay said...

I need to think about this for a bit and come up with something good. Or at least different what everyone else has already said. And, I'm too distracted by the promise of Candice's rack right now. I may have to go out and make a kid with someone just so I can get that same deal from her.

So, I'm gonna do this as a blog post. Yup, an entire blog post just for Ryno. If that doesn't work, I don't know what will. ;-)

Matt-Man said...

Jay: Ha. You are always one-upping me, and quite well, I might add.

However, since you mentioned Candice, I respect you for that.

Here's to Ryno, and here's to Candice. Wait a minute, that sounded somewhat statutory. Have at it my good man. Cheers Jay!!

Starrlight said...

Here is mine, short and sweet.

Ryno - Like listening to a bunch of adults yammer at you? Like the long intimate talks with mom and dad more than say watching tv? Really? If not there is a simple remedy. Do your homework and turn it in. It will shut them up =)

Matt-Man said...

Starr: Ha. Keep it simple. And you did, and it is on the mark. It IS that easy, with one caveat...If you don't understand something, don't say you do, and take two seconds to ask me about it dammit!! I'll explain it to ya. Cheers Starr!!

metalmom said...

This is Chris ...Swarthmore PA

Some people are not "A" material. But if you are getting a "B", make sure it's the best damn "B" you can give. When you look at your report card, you should feel proud that you have done your BEST. And when that "A" shows up, it's like icing on the cake.

My son carried his paperbooks (the required reading material) around in his back pocket. He read on his way to and from work, on his lunch break, while waiting for his food to heat in the microwave. It was so hard to do this at college level...because he slacked in high school.

Life isn't easy. Everything out there requires hard work. Learn the discipline now....before your job, your family, your home depends on it.

Angell said...

Rhyno - this comes from someone who is kicking her own ass for not going to college. I'm 35 now and wish I had paid more attention to school. Girls, parties, friends - they will always exist. You only have a certain amount of time to do something good with your future. If I could go back and tell my 15 year old self anything it would be to go to class, pay attention and get the best grades I possibly could.

It's a pain I know. But I can promise you one thing - stick with it and in fifteen years, when you're making more money than all your friends, and your lifestyle is dictated by what you WANT it to be, instead of what your wallet says it has to be, you'll be thankful you did.

Besides, who else is gonna support your dad in his golden years? :P

Bond said...

It is the "ummm wut? homework? geee, I left it on my desk...or was that the paper I wrote my number on and gave to that new hot chick?"

they always forget the homework

no fights yet dude...sorry

Desert Rat said...


Lots of good advice, I can see from looking at all the most excellent comments from the people that care about your Dad and ultimately about you.

I was actually one of those scholastic dorkosaurs who faithfully turned in all my homework assignments, was a charter member of the math club (yessss!), made honor roll, sang at Senior Honors night, wore the lame gold tassel, etc. BUT I had all kinds of privileges for fun because my folks didn't have to constantly nag at me. They TRUSTED me! I was RESPONSIBLE! That meant Beach Time, baby! Driving. Going to parties with my friends without that irritating "Have you finished your home work? Is your room clean? Did you remember to floss?"

Ryan, in the Big Picture, you are doing this for YOU. It's YOUR future. Think it's a game? Well, Darling, it IS a game - one that's going to last the rest of your life and, surprisingly, it matters - a lot. So play the game and PLAY IT WELL.

Oh, right, and I ended up with a Masters and work as an Earth Scientist, which I love (and which means I had to turn in homework for physics, chemistry, calculus, and I HATED IT! but it was WORTH IT!)

I work when I feel like it on projects that interest me. Sweet deal.

You can find me hiking along beautiful desert streams, flipping rocks, watching eagles take flight (I am not making this up), in Arizona.

Now, I have a question for YOU: You're a smart young man - if someone were to ask you why homework WAS important and WHY you did it, what would you say? Think of this as creative writing. Seriously. What motivates YOU? Ideally, it should be internal, but sometimes a reward is nice, too.

I'll leave you with this: Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet. The preparation part of the equation is entirely up to you. Good Luck!

Matt-Man said...

Chris, Vinny, Angell, and Mmmmmm Rat:

Thanks for the comments. (Although Vin, I am sorry to hear about the bliss.) I am getting ready to go to work, and will get back with ya as soon as I get back tonight. Thanks much, you lovable knuckleheads. Cheers!!

Desert Rat said...

I wanted to clarify a comment I made a couple of days back about Jew Bashing.

Star is absolutely right: foreskin or no makes no difference regarding the Israeli government being screwed up. And Kat is right, too, men and women of all faiths and locales slam Jews.

I was actually thinking of a friend of mine from Scotland. He was living in NYC and encountered a guy standing on a corner doing his own free lance Jew bashing. My friend unzipped his pants and whipped out his intact unit and said "See this? Uncut! I'll bet YOU'RE circumsized! YOU must be one of THEM!" (BTW, he adores Jewish women.)

Sometimes I type faster than my brain can keep up. And incoherent if I am thinking of a backstory of which only I am aware!

Cheers, All!

Matt-Man said...

Thanks to all of you. I am going to print all of these comments and emails off and compile them in a binder and give them to him either Thursday or Staurday.

I am incredibly appreciative to you guys for being so detailed, open, and honest. Thanks again.

And Rat? You needn't have explained, you adorable thing you.

To each and every one of you...