You see, my darling middle child, who is painfully shy and very susceptible to peer pressure, brought a bullet to school to impress his friend. It fell out of his pocket during music and the music teacher (a good friend) had to turn him in to the principal. She felt terrible about turning him in, the prinicipal felt terrible about suspending him and I had to reassure them that he NEEDED to be suspended and learn his lesson. My other 3 kiddos are independent and self-confident, they're leaders rather than followers. Unfortunately, my little red head is the exact opposite - and he needs to learn that there are consequences for his actions. He was grounded to his room for the 5 days (he was suspended on Thursday so today was his first day back) and spent his time in his room, with reading as his only available past time. We had some stern conversations with him regarding touching daddy's ammunition, knowingly breaking the rules and doing the wrong thing to seem cool. He took his punishment without complaint and seemed almost relieved to be punished. Yesterday I had to take the day off work so I could stay home with him as daddy couldn't take any more time off.
Well, seeing as I was off work, I used the time to run some errands. We were out running around past lunch time so we went to McDonald's - I actually wrestled with this decision as I certainly didn't want to reward him with a fun lunch on one of his suspension days. But, I decided that one lunch would not erase the 4 previous days of punishment and to be extra sure I had a talk with him about regaining trust and ways he could show us that he was trustworthy again (raising his grades, making different friends etc).
Anyways, I ended up at McDonald's at 1:30 on a school day. Something that would never happen normally. We ate lunch and headed out to the car. As I was opening my door and putting my Diet Coke in the cup holder I noticed something out of the corner of my eye. It was a little boy, about 2 or 3, holding his shoes in his hands and running up and down the sidewalk outside of McDonald's with a worried look on his face. I scanned the parking lot for his mama, but no one was in sight. I considered minding my own business and driving away, sure that someone was with him, but I waited a few more seconds to see if maybe his mama was just putting a sibling in the car or something and was coming right back. As I watched, the little guy darted toward the busy street, stopping at the last second and teetering on the edge of the curb. That decided me! I went over and picked him up (trusting little fellow too!) and looked around the parking lot again. No one raised an alarm that I was picking up their kid. I asked him where his mama was and he said "She's not here." I asked where his daddy was and he said "I don't know."
I carried him back into the restaurant, scanning for a worried parent and no one seemed to be looking for him. I asked if he saw his daddy and he said "No." I took him into the play area and finally he said "There's Daddy!" and there indeed was Daddy - a tray of food in his hands, looking for a table, with no idea that his son had been mere inches away from the busiest street in town. Apparently the little guy had been playing in the play area while Daddy ordered the food. Little guy got freaked out when he couldn't find Daddy, so he grabbed his shoes and went outside into the big world to look for him. Can I just say that I am so thankful that I was off of work and happened to be in the parking lot at that moment?
Now, it doesn't excuse what my own son did in any way. But, it does make me think that maybe there is a reason for the way things work out sometimes. And, if I was a super parent with super children like I sometimes stress about not being, then I would have been at work yesterday while that little boy tried to cross the busiest road in town to look for his Daddy. So tonight I am thankful that I have difficulties and problems, that my life is not perfect, there's a reason for everything, even if we can't see it at the time.
AND, there is a reason you read this far as well! Since I was thinking of idioms and this is Science Week, I decided that next week we should test the idiom "One bad apple can spoil the bunch!" Here's the experiment and recording sheet, I'm hoping it will lead to some interesting discussions in my classroom even aside from the scientific process. When one person is out of procedure is it tempting to start talking too? Do you want to be the bad apple that spoils it for everyone?
Does One Bad Apple Really Spoil the Bunch