Last night, we received an unusual phone call.  A neighbor called to ask something that I don’t think we’ve ever been asked before:  Can you help our son with his homework?

Of course we agreed, and it was an interesting experience.  The neighbor has the same math class (different time) as my son.  We had just done the exact same assignment the night before, and it was a very frustrating event for me and my boy.  He insisted that he knew how to do it, even though his answers revealed otherwise.  His voice became elevated, and mine matched.  He actually never finished the assignment at home but took it to school and finished it there.

The neighbor boy, on the other hand, was a sweet angel (for us anyway- I’m sure his parents had the same experience described above, and thus the phone call for help).  I was calm, and he was respectful, listened, and fairly quickly picked up the concept and completed the assignment.  My son even helped him part of the time.

So, the mystery is this:  why is it that we behave better for a neighbor than we do for our own family?  Why can father and neighbor be so polite and have a much better learning environment and father and son result to arguing with so little learning occurring?

And, most importantly, why don’t we more frequently exchange children with the neighbors to complete homework?

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