My son, Mikey, is a 6th grader, and his grades have been horrible this year. I talked to you about this, and your advice really helped.
And I'm not really worried anymore about my son, the comedian… He was invited to a friend's house recently. I'd met this boy and liked his manners and attitude, but my son had never been to his house. It turned out to be a sketchy house in a pretty sketchy neighborhood. The mom shared with me she'd had her first child at 17, but she was working hard to make a better life for her kids. When I picked my son up later, he was quiet. He finally told me he'd been nervous being in the house - it wasn't what he was used to, but he'd had a nice time.
I saw a "Teaching Moment" and immediately explained there are some typical reasons people end up living in poor neighborhoods. First, I said, "People who get lousy grades in school don't get to go to college, and they end up making french fries for a living. I said this could happen to YOU, if you don't start taking school more seriously."
I wasn't done yet, of course. I pointed out his friend's mom had become pregnant WAY before she was ready to take on the responsibility of a child, and so now she and her kids were living in poverty. "You're a good-looking boy," I said. "You've grown 4 1/2 inches in less than a year, and your voice has changed. Do you realize you have working sperm now? And you could end up with a child? Some day soon," I continued, "some stupid girl is going to offer to have sex with you in order to keep you as a boyfriend, and you could end up having to quit school and get a crummy job to support your baby, if she won't put it up for adoption!"
He was quiet for a long moment, and I congratulated myself on a parenting job well done. Finally, my son spoke.
"You don't have to worry, Mom," he said solemnly. "I'm not going to get any girls pregnant. At least until I bring up my grades."
Thank God he had a big grin on his face... and I didn't wrap the car around a tree...