Our first indication that the tide was turning happened when he was in the 7th grade. He had always excelled in math and I was surprised to see his grade slipping in his algebra class. I consulted his teacher who informed me that he had not turned in several assignments. I was stunned. Where did he get off thinking that he could pick and choose which assignments he completed and if he submitted them? I confronted him, committed to nipping this problem in the bud. Thinking of my daughter, who has always been extremely conscientious about her schoolwork, I expected him to be contrite and disappointed with himself. Instead, I encountered indifference. After all, he still had a "B" so what was the big deal. Paraphrasing my sister-in-law, who had met with similar challenges with my brilliant but lazy nephew, I told him I expected him to do his best work every time and not to settle for the path of least resistance. He shrugged his shoulders, rolled his eyes and sighed. He was clearly not bending to my will.
I have lots of family and friends with teenage boys and virtually every one of them describes a similar dynamic. There are Mensa kids, average learners and boys with a range of special needs. Some of them are young for their grade level and some are a full year older than most of their peers. It does not seem to matter. They all share this attitude of apathy and a willingness to settle for mediocrity. So, for those of you wondering what happened to your boy prodigy, take some comfort in knowing that the rest of us are scratching our heads too.