How often did you hear this refrain when you were a child? The command to get on with your homework and not to leave it until Sunday evening or even worse on the bus to school the following day. Homework is seen as an integral part of a student’s academic progress. I was a diligent student. I could not be any other since I was trapped between the rock of a headmaster for a father and a hard face, I mean a hard place in the form of my driving and ambitious mother. From time to time she would place me in her car and drive to a run down and dilapidated area of the nearest city.
“Take a look, HG,” she would announce as she drove along a street with boarded up windows, graffiti-sprayed walls and broken roofs, “these are the type of places you end up if you do not study hard at school. You do not want that do you?”
“No mother,” I would dutifully respond as I watched the derelict houses speed by. Thus I was always reminded of the value of positive application across my various academic disciplines. It was reinforced repeatedly that I had to study hard, complete my essays and assignments and always do my homework. I am sure you can recall the temptation posed by your friends calling round to ask if you were coming out, or you had a new computer game you would much rather play or there was something on television that you would rather watch. The allure of something shiny and attractive always proved a distraction. We would all much rather do the exciting things rather than attend to the humdrum even if the humdrum is what is required to enable us to benefit in the long term. That naturally requires discipline. It is difficult isn’t it to focus on something that is not especially exciting or is mundane? We would all much rather choose to the things which are new,fresh and exciting.
This is precisely what we rely on when we come blazing into your life. We distract you with our flattery and our charm. We turn your heads with the compliments and the excitement. Our whirlwind of desire is so difficult to resist. There may be one or two voices struggling to make themselves heard above the noise of our incessant flattering chatter. Those voices may know what we are or they at the very least are concerned by what they are witnessing and they urge you to consider carefully what you are doing. They see certain behaviours and they are not caught up in the excitement and razzle dazzle. They have some objectivity and quite possibly more life experience than you. They may recognise these behaviours having seen them with other people and they are trying to guide you to avoid making the mistakes that they have. Theirs is the voice of reason, akin to that parent who reminds you to get that homework done. It is never a popular suggestion and one that is always too readily ignored. I am sure you know people who now as adults perhaps have not made the best of themselves and they rue the fact that they should have tried harder at school or they should have listened to their parents but now it is too late for them. They did not listen and they chose the excitement of hanging out with their friends and larking about at McDonald’s or on street corners to getting their head down and doing their homework. They have failed to heed the advice that was given by those who have more experience and wisdom. Just like them you were too absorbed with the excitement we brought into your world, it was far easier and far more attractive to become engrossed in what we offered than to sit and reflect, heed advice and do the homework. I have heard it many times,
“If only I had listened to my mother, she kept saying something was not right.”
“My friends kept trying to tell me but I thought I knew best.”
“I wish I had done some due diligence now, but I guess it is too late.”
When we arrive promising you the world and telling you that you do not need to do your homework because you have us now, you might just want to re-consider that and get out some books and do some studying. By reading and learning you will protect yourself and achieve more. You will go further. Just like I did.