Phase II Operation Morning Run, Complete!

Ever-Late Student

As we discussed in Phase I Operation Morning Run, Complete my daughter and I were able to deal with her morning routine and resulting school lateness in a new and healthy way when it became a problem at the beginning of the school year. In the doldrums of late February and March this little issue has started to expose itself again as if it was just covered with a white blanket of snow that’s now melting.

As fate would have it, yesterday my daughter brought some interesting thoughts to my attention as we pulled into the school parking lot 15 minutes late. “I hate living so far away from school, it’s impossible for me to get everything I want to get done in the morning and get to school on time.” After many more such proclamations and the resulting emotion, I reminded her that she had lots of time in the morning and that as she had shown in the past, she could choose to do things differently in the morning that would deal with this matter. She insisted however that these things were not in her control and that she was doomed to a future of ridicule as the ever-late student.

In the moment, my initial reaction was to do what had worked in the past which had been to let her feel her feelings and the pain of the consequences of being late and make a decision on her own to change her approach. I saw another opportunity to “parent” in this case though that I decided I did not want to pass up. Some people are naturally efficient at getting things done and others have to work at it. Efficiency is a strength that was passed on to me from my mother, I believe, and that when I make a decision to get something done, I am usually very efficient in my approach. Let’s be clear here. It’s often is an excruciatingly slow process of procrastination getting me to make a decision, but when I do make it, I act quickly.

Opportunity Knocks

I saw an opportunity here to model for my daughter, now that her motivation level seemed high. I told her that I could prove to her that she had more than enough time, and that it was a matter of organization and efficiency. She could get all she wanted done and still have time to relax and enjoy her morning.

“I can prove it to you, but you won’t like it.”

“Fine” she announced in a stereotypical teen voice.

Last night when I tucked her into bed I told her to wake me up as soon as she got out of bed in the morning and that I would be “guiding” her through her morning routine. I am pretty sure I heard a doubtful laugh as I closed her bedroom door. I heard the knock on my door at 7:02AM and I directed her to hop into the shower right away, which she did. For the rest of the morning, I followed her around like a personal assistant but did absolutely nothing practical for her. “Leave your bag here, warm up your hair straightener while you are blow drying, and get these four things while you are in the fridge.” At one point she even corrected me with an even more efficient approach to putting away her breakfast items! She was getting into it.


On most mornings I will make her lunch for her but on this day, I had her do that too. I ensured she was  thinking about the nutrition of the contents, and the environment with the containers. As she was tying her shoes to head out the door I jokingly said, you could tie those in the car to save some more time. She clearly thought I was serious and assumed that I was hurrying her to get out the door, running late. EE-ghad! I sort of played along saying mmm-hmmm and we got out the door.

En route to school the car in front seemed to be waiting for an arrow forgetting that they could go on a green anyway, so I said ” c’mon, c’mon were in a hurry” knowing that she would look at the clock. When she did she corrected me as any t(w)een would do and said, “Not really.” The look on her face when she said this was priceless. I could actually see her connecting the dots right there on her face, almost wincing as it happened. As we pulled into her empty school lot I asked her how much time we had before she had to be at school. She replied…


We had some good humoured banter back and forth about the exercise since we had so much time to kill. Lots of smiles and giggles to boot! It felt good. I knew in her heart that she had learned what I wanted her to learn. That the choices she makes in the morning are the real things slowing her down. It has nothing to do with where we live or how much more she has to do than every other human being that ever has or will live! We had come through this, together and are stronger for it. She gets it. Problem solved.

What The?

With hugs and kisses I sent her off to her scholastic pursuits, proud of what I had accomplished. I asked her if we needed to go through this exercise again, and she laughed and said. “No way! It was annoying!” As she turned to get out of the car, with a twinkle in her eye she looked back and said…

“I’ll still be late though”, and walked away. She is “almost twelve” after all.

Driving away a great song came to mind as it always does. The chorus kind of told me what I needed to hear as you can see below. Check out MEmusic for Further the Sky by The Gabe Dixon Band and check out the full lyrics here. With that I will leave you to your own MEfurbishment.




4 Comments to “Phase II Operation Morning Run, Complete!”

  1. Great job, Dad.

    She’s a lucky girl. 🙂


  2. I got goosebumps readying this!

  3. Ha ha – THAT was a Freudian slip if I ever saw one!!! I meant “reading”, of course. 😉

  4. What a well-written morning story! Thanks for sharing. On a side note, I am curious about the “tween” thing. Is it the adults who call them tweens, or do the tweens call themselves that, proudly claiming that they are almost-teens (the iPhone automatically capitalizes it as “Tween” curiously enough, but it seems wrong).

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