Son #2 explained it, in a moment of exasperation this afternoon:
"Say you needed help with your homework, or something. I would help you with your homework.. He would grab your homework, throw it out on the lawn, and laugh at you. And you would have to go out there and find it, and if you did that much you would be committed to doing your homework. And you'd be a better man for it."
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. It also is a sparkling showcase for the next generation of familial sarcasm.