Stories about parents and their small children – and how they relate - are always interesting to me.
Because I’m a first grade teacher, I’ve seen many different kinds of interactions … from gentle and loving to harsh and impatient.
Most parents are kind to and supportive of their children, so WHO are the sometimes loud, cranky, and obstinate ones? Who could that possibly be?
If you’re a parent, you KNOW how little ones can sometimes be!
I’m not judging; I’m just saying … After all, I’m a parent myself. I understand.
Here are two stories about parents and their children ...
First thing this morning, Amy appeared beside me, upset …
“Joe Joe took my money,” she whimpered. “Four dollars!”
“Oh, don’t say that unless … Did you see him?”
She nodded frantically. “In my desk ….” Sniffling, she dabbed a tissue at her eyes and hiccupped. “My mommy said to tell you.”
“Your mommy? … Wait. When did this happen?”
“Do you mean yesterday… here at school?”
“Okay,” I said, “I’ll see what he has to say.”
In the hall Joe Joe admitted it. “I cleaned out her desk for her.”
“But here’s the important thing,” I told him, “did she ASK you to do that, Joe Joe?”
With sad, pleading eyes, he searched my face and whispered, “But I was only trying to help.” After that, he told me he had taken the money home and put it in his piggy bank … so I asked my assistant to keep the class while I called Joe Joe’s house.
In a few minutes Joe Joe’s grandfather appeared at the classroom door with some cash.
His grandfather knelt in the hallway, eye-level to Joe Joe. “Aren’t you sorry about it? Why don’t you tell the little girl?”
Then, he lifted Joe Joe’s hands and pushed money into them, closing his hands over Joe Joe’s, so Joe Joe wouldn’t lose any of it.
Dropping his mouth wide opened, Joe Joe stared aghast at the pile of crumpled green bills in his little hands.
At last, he spoke, “Uh … now WHAT do I post to say?”
“Son, just say, ‘I’m sorry.’ ”
Then - I guess to encourage him - his grandfather added, “I’m sure you’ll feel better.”
Just inside the doorway, Amy waited for Joe Joe so we could handle this quietly.
Was he shy, embarrassed?
No! Rushing to her, he eagerly reported, “My papa said he’s sorry … and he hopes you feel better!”
Did he give her the money?
No! With that, he ran from the classroom and yelled down the hall to his grandfather, who was leaving, “I DONE IT, Papa … Just like you said! Does that mean I get to keep the money now?”
Buzz! The school office was calling me on the intercom to let me know that Tommy’s mother and grandmother were on their way to my classroom ... They wanted a minute to quickly hand me something, personally …
I bet I knew what it was.
I bet Tommy did, too. I glanced over at him just as he let out a long sigh.
Recently, Tommy hasn’t been turning in his homework ...
So last night - when I called his mother - she said, “Yes, he’s done some of it, but Mr. Tough Guy refuses to take it back to school.”
“Why’s that?” I asked her.
“Because he didn’t want to do it in the FIRST place! And I know this is affecting his grades, but don’t you worry,” she said, matter-of-factly, “there’ll be a tantrum ... but he WILL FINISH ever bit of that work. And he WILL turn it in.”
Since Tommy hadn’t turned in any of the missing work today, I figured this must be what the visit was about.
Now, at the sound of the rap on the door, I nodded to Tommy. “Your folks are here … Come introduce me.”
He shrugged nonchalantly … but joined me as I opened the door.
“This here’s my grandma,” he said and spun around to walk away.
I touched his shoulder. “Yes, and … ?”
As his mother handed me his work, he scrunched his face into an ugly scowl. Flaring his nostrils like a bull who's ready to charge, he fumed. “And the other one … she’s my BROTHER’S momma!”