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The anatomy of a hider

- Full disclosure -

Name: Hider Heinz

Scientific name: Camoflagious superiorus

Age: 7

Traits: Hiders nurture the budding gifts of tomorrow’s lawyer or politician. Out of sight, out of mind, creates their personal reality when it comes to schoolwork. And they always have a cover story for why they have kept daily assignments undercover.

Common phrases of Camoflagious superiorus: “What homework?” “I forgot.” “I got it all done at school.” “The teacher didn’t give us any.”

Cautionary focus: If you suspect such a persona lurking within your child, it can’t hurt to give the furniture an occasional exploratory probe. An amazing amount of work sheets, spelling lists and less-than-stellar graded tests can fit beneath the cushions of your couch. If you have a sleeper sofa, better unfold that mattress as well.

Bringing hiders into the light: Jon Paris teaches 18 Ohio third-graders at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy. When homework fails to make it back to his desk, or returns with a failing performance, he quickly brings parents into the equation with an “A/B” or “Assignment/Behavior” card.

“I send the card home to let parents know what’s going on,” Paris says, “and they have to sign and return the card. If I don’t get the card back, I e-mail the parents. It’s hard for kids to slide that stuff by.”

Accountability in the classroom is another big boost to performance, according to Paris. He gives the students planners in which they have to record their homework each day, and he assigns accountability partners. The students check each other’s planners, backpacks and desks.

Paris understands the communication equation from the home front, too. His son, Ben, just finished first grade. Daughter Gigi is heading to kindergarten. The family keeps a white board with a current list of homework assignments and daily reading practice.

“If they keep up with their white board calendar, they get their allowance,” Paris says.

Scripture to consider: “Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, ‘Who sees us? Who will know?’ ” (Isaiah 29:15).

Conclusion: It’s human nature to shirk responsibility and hide one’s mistakes. Your child needs to be encouraged to accept tasks, and to admit when something has not been done or has been done poorly. Point your child toward full disclosure and full personal effort to create a recipe for life success.

Researcher: Scott Harrup

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