Late Night

“Yo Cameron! It’s time to get up man. What time did you go to bed last night?” I ask. He rolls over and looks at me, and says, “Around two o’clock. I was up late.”

“Well, it’s almost noon, dude. You’ve gotta get up and make something of the day.”

“C’mon dad, it’s Saturday. Why can’t I just sleep all day?”

I’m still standing in his doorway, waiting for him to scratch his ass and get. I tell him the reason he can’t sleep all day, is because he has chores and he has to participate in them. It’s a beautiful day to spend effectively. When I was a kid, every though we stayed up late, we still got up no later than eight or nine. Not because we had to, but because it was Saturday, and me and my brothers wanted to get our allowance and our basketballs or footballs, run down to the corner store and buy some candy, soda, and chips. We’d get into our day and use it all up. There wasn’t a second lost in our weekends. The last place we wanted to be was in our rooms. We couldn’t wait to go outside. Outside! Can you imagine that? These kids nowadays think outside is punishment. Outside is where the adventure is.

The reason he tries to sleep in like this is because he sits on his ass playing PS4 all night Friday, after school, after his homework, after his chores. So I told him that if he couldn’t get up at a decent time, then maybe I’ll just have to enforce an earlier bedtime.

I’m so passionate about this. There’s no way in hell, he’s going to lay around like he’s worked a 12-hour shift. I don’t care if it’s Christmas Break, and school doesn’t begin for another two weeks. The way I see teenagers is very simple: Everything is habit forming, and falling out of a regular sleep schedule is just not good. Too much sleep makes you tired. I have an older cousin that used to sleep in until two o’clock when we were kids. The grown folks would wake his ass up, and he’d have a shitty attitude..we were like eleven and twelve years old. It would literally take him the rest of the day to bounce back from his twelve hour sleep pattern. He’d have endless headaches, backaches. He was sluggish. It was just ridiculous how this dude moved around like an old man. The rest of us youngsters, had already been up since seven or eight, had breakfast, been outside, etc.

I remember that stuff like it was yesterday, and I’ll be damned if I let Cameron fall into a crappy sleep schedule. So recently, on Friday nights I’ve been telling him, “Listen, if you can’t handle getting up at a decent time on the weekends, mainly Saturday, then you better go to bed at a decent time. You don’t work a 9-5, so you better set that alarm on your phone to something like eight or nine. Don’t sleep later than that. You’re a young dude, get outdoors with your basketball. Go running, get that exercise in. You can take a nap in the afternoon, but you need to be up. Don’t become lazy.”

Now, sometimes, I feel I come down on him a bit too hard. But who’s going to teach him these things. Who’s going to teach him about ambition, fitness, responsibility, etc? Who’s going to take the time out to give him advice and perspective? Nobody. It’s a father’s job and responsibility to lay heavy perspective on his kids, especially the boys. I’m not saying a mother can’t. I’m only saying that a man must instill the jewels of ethic, time management, decision making, and PERSPECTIVE in his children.

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