When the big brother becomes the parent

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of taking a back seat to parenting and watching Zach make some magic of his own and hopefully give some lasting advice to his younger brother.

Last night Zach and I were going over some paperwork that needs to be submitted to finalize his acceptance into VMI.  In the paperwork there was letter telling Zach all of the benefits of VMI’s academic program and how the academic center helps new Rats (that’s VMI speak for the freshman class…nice, huh?) transition from high school study and work habits to VMI study and work habits.  Lucas sat listening and engaging in our conversation when the tide turned a little and Zach started talking to Lucas about what he needs to do to succeed in high school so he, too, can get into VMI.

Lucas talks about where he wants to go to college and he does, indeed, have his sights set on a military academy. Zach knows it.  Last night Zach capitalized on Lucas’ desire to follow in his brother’s footsteps and his proximity to our conversation.  The boys started talking about transcripts and school schedules for next year and it went something like this…

Lucas: “I’m going to take online PE this summer so I can take another….oh, crap what’s the word?”

Zach: “Elective?”

Lucas: “YEAH!  That’s the word!  I’m going to take this cake walk of a class so I can get an easy A.”

Zach: “Don’t take easy classes just to get an A.  It doesn’t look good on your transcript.  You have to take AP and honors classes if you are seriously considering any type of academy.  They don’t want to see crap on your transcripts just for good grades.  They want to see hard work and good grades.”

Lucas: “Well, I think it’s best if I keep my GPA up by taking classes I know I can get an A in.  How is it going to look good to get a C in something hard when I could get an A in something easy?”

Zach: “You have to go with the hard classes that interest you.  You love history so you should take AP European History.  Or take psychology, but don’t just take crappy, easy courses.  It’s not going to get you anywhere.”

Lucas was still trying to win the battle of easy A’s versus hard C’s, but it didn’t work.  Zach stuck to his guns, talked over me and parented Lucas better than Stan or I ever could have.  I couldn’t be more proud of the big brother who became the parent last night.  Lucas needed it and so did I.

Oh, for the love of my children…

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