Bradley Howard, a 17-year-old high school student from Texas, was constantly getting in trouble in his physics class. Each day, it seemed his parents were getting yet another call or email to say Bradley had misbehaved again. His dad, who’s also named Bradley but goes by Brad, was fed up with the bad reports regarding his son’s behavior.
“I like to talk a lot, and so my teacher kept emailing my dad about it,” Bradley admitted to Buzzfeed News. While that might sound like a small infraction, it was becoming a big problem. Bradley was disrupting the entire class and negatively impacting his peers. Unable to get Bradley under control, his physics teacher wanted the boy’s parents to help remedy the situation.
Brad understood that his son liked “to be the life of the party, which gets him in trouble from time to time,” he said, but he also knew there was a time and a place to socialize. Physics class wasn’t it, so Brad told Bradley it was time to straighten up at school. “For some reason, I said, ‘Hey, if we get another call, I’m going to show up in school and sit beside you in class,’” Brad recalled.
Unfortunately for both Dad Brad and Teen Bradley, that call came. Although Bradley never expected his father to follow through, Brad knew that part of being a good parent was sticking to your word, even when you really didn’t want to. “Friday is my only day off, so my wife wakes me up and says, ‘Brad, it’s time for you to go to school.’ I thought, ‘Oh no, what have I done?’” the dad admitted.
With Bradley none the wiser, Brad headed to school and took a seat at his son’s desk and waited for his boy to arrive. His social son entered the room, and initially, he was so busy talking, he didn’t even realize his dad was there. “I didn’t even notice him until after I had said hi to all of my friends, but I was super shocked,” Bradley recalled.
“I was a bit nervous being there among the teenagers,” said Brad, admitting the high school experience was really a lot for him to take in. “Mentally, I hadn’t prepared to go into a situation like that,” he explained. “I think they had a good time,” he added, saying that his son’s friends seemed to enjoy seeing him there, “especially knowing that Bradley was put in an uncomfortable situation.”
Bradley’s friends weren’t the only ones who got a kick out of it, either. His sister liked it so much, she posted evidence of her brother’s embarrassing incident in a family group chat. Affectionately referring to her brother as “B2,” she wrote, “Dad told B2 if we get another complaint about his behavior from his physics teacher that dad was going to sit in class with him. We got a call yesterday so here is dad this morning!”
Of course, she included a photo for the family to enjoy before posting a screenshot of the conversation and the photo to social media, where even more people got to enjoy it. Overall, most found it pretty funny, but many saw more than just the humor in the situation. They saw a loving father, deploying great parenting and going the extra mile to get through to his son.
“I pray it was a one-time thing,” the elder Brad admitted, adding that the physics teacher was grateful, but being his son’s babysitter at school isn’t something he wanted to have to continue to do in the future. But, it’s unlikely he’ll have to do this again. He showed his son and his other children that their dad means what he says. So, it’s a safe bet, they will heed his warnings from now on.
Sometimes, simply being present and following through is the best discipline you can give. It proves that we mean what we say and that we will go out of our way to ensure our kids learn the life lessons we’re trying to teach them. Empty threats are a parent’s biggest mistake.
Not only does it tell them that they don’t have to take us seriously, but it also sends a message that they aren’t worth the effort of following through. Luckily, Brad Howard is a better dad than that. Hopefully, his story inspires other parents to be better too.
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