The Science Project

Last night during dinner I received a call from my son’s guidance counselor. Apparently my son did not hand in the big science project that was due that day. Now, I had been nagging him continually, asking if he was working on it, if he needed help, etc. He always assured me that yes, he was working on it & even told me how far along he was (done with the research, writing it up, etc.)
So I asked him – basically – what the heck? He got all “Joe Cool” on me & said things like that was the teacher’s problem & that sort of thing. My husband & I suspected that perhaps he never worked on it at all (because he’s done that before).
After dinner, he did show me his report. So I asked him why in the world didn’t he hand it in? He said that he saw how good all the other kids’ projects were and didn’t want to hand his in. I told him that there’s no way the teacher can know what work he did without him handing it in.
I told him to hand it in 1st thing in the morning, like his guidance counselor suggested. I don’t think he did, but I emailed the counselor & science teacher what happened (not to excuse, but to explain) & told the science teacher where the report was if it wasn’t handed in 1st thing.
Although I wasn’t crazy about the idea that my son didn’t hand in the report, I am glad that he did the work (or at least tried) and that he was honest with me as to why he did not hand it in. Hearing that was kind of eye-opening, and I wonder if there is some component of him that is discouraged to even try if he can’t be “the best.”
Along those lines, I’m wondering if some of his failure to perform has anything to do with his sister making honor roll. After all, the problems started mid-8th grade, when she was just starting middle school and her actual letter grades were becoming apparent (in elementary, they get “Satisfaction” or “Progressing” & that sort of nonsense). School seems to come much easier for her & I wonder if he felt that he was putting in even more effort for a lesser grade than her. After all, he is somewhat competitive with her; he seems to feel that if she is this, he should be that and vice versa. It’s almost like a rule with him.
I haven’t had a chance to explore this with him yet, though.