That got your attention…
A few weeks back, I picked the girls up from the bus stop and drove away in a distinctively quiet car. Nothing in my life is silent, so when something is, my “mom” instincts heighten.
Everyday when we get home, we have a routine when we enter our house in the afternoon. The book bags go on the dining room table and the girls head upstairs to change out of their uniforms.
Thank God for these procedures because a change in the sequence by an offspring intensifies my perception of something suspicious.
Today was unusual. One little blond began to head up the steps with her book bag, evidence that my inclinations were correct. Something WAS in that backpack that she didn’t want me to see.
I stopped her. She froze. I directed her to put the bag on the table and go upstairs and get changed. As I was helping Camryn get her snack, what sounded like a cat fight exploded upstairs.
My girls argue. Kids do. But this….This was something I have never heard before.
I ran upstairs and stood in amazement as the three of them yelled at one another. Tears were streaming down a little face and there, in the middle of the floor, laid a pile of dirty rocks. The culprit of the screaming…
After a good 45 minute interrogation of all suspects…because in this house you are all guilty until proven innocent, I got to the bottom of the story, literally.
I should mention that Camryn has therapists at our house at this point who have to witness the DRAMA. I love when people watch me parent, says no one ever.
VERY LONG STORY SHORT… Guilty child was at recess. Her teacher told all the kids to put down the rocks that they were playing with from around the perimeter of the playground. Guilty child put the rocks DOWN, in her underwear, WHERE. THEY. REMAINED. ALL. DAY.
When she got home, she was bringing her bag upstairs to remove the rocks from her underwear and place them in her school bag.
You can laugh. It is funny now. Then, it wasn’t AT ALL.
This was disobeying authority and stealing. Her consequence at home was that she had to return the rocks to the teacher. She was devastated and furious that I was going to “tell”on her.
I sent an email explaining the situation and ended with disclosing that the rocks would be in a ziplock bag in the front of her school bag. I informed the teacher that I told the child that she was not to take the rocks out and the teacher could choose how to handle the situation and requested that the teacher have a follow up conversation with her.
The teacher did meet with her, she didn’t get a good behavior award that week and I THINK she learned not to steal, or at least stick rocks in her underwear.
1. After doing some self reflection I’ve come to a few realizations. I can’t believe I sent the “underwear rocks” back to the teacher. I could have just told the story. When I want to prove a point though with these kids and win a battle, I go ALL in. I even labeled the bag, The Rocks that Were in My Underwear. Too far?
2. She did what she wanted by taking the rocks, but she didn’t get away with it. I made a tough parenting decision that day. I will never allow my girls to get away with something that they do at school that is clearly wrong. And despite not being caught at school, me discovering something at home that happened at school and reporting it back to the teacher is fair game. It is not my job to make excuses for them or cover for them. Unfortunately, she needed to be the first to learn that lesson. We are not perfect people, nor are we teaching perfection, so she will not be the last. God only knows what this week has in store.
3. Could this make the teacher dislike her or judge her for the rest of the year? Sure, there are teachers who could do that, but I needed to drive home that telling the truth will always gain you more respect than lying. As a parent I wanted the teacher to know that we are always on their side. As a teacher, when parents weren’t on my side, it was so exhausting.
4. If I feel like my “report” begins to blemish her name, of course I would defend her. It hasn’t at all. As a matter of fact, she is doing well and loves her teacher.
5. DON’T. MESS. WITH. ME.GIRLS. I’ve done it all and I will catch you. Although, I would have never stuck rocks in my pants. I wasn’t that crafty. I would have just tried to put them in my bag after recess and my teacher would have seized the rocks and hand delivered me to my Mom, who worked at my school.
6. I view my greatest responsibility as a parent to guide the girls and help to strengthen their character. My role is to focus on who my girls are becoming. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control can’t compete with a trophy, grade or award any day in my house. If I have to throw them under the bus to get them to understand that, that bus will be lifted over and over again. Our integrity and reputation is established early and guides the trajectory of our lives.