Yesterday, Caleb came home from school and The Worst Day Ever. Apparently there was some bad behavior while standing in line and he had to write half a page on the topic of Respect in Line.
I’m realizing more and more that part of my job as his mother is to provide him with a little perspective. The little perfectionist takes on any punishment with some serious drama, so I try to instill the attitude of Okay You Messed Up and You Need to Take Your Lumps but For God’s Sake, It’s Not Like You Masterminded Some Really Horrible Plot.
So he started his half page on Respect in Line, and it turns out, there’s not a whole lot to say on the subject. “Don’t talk in line,” he wrote. “Don’t play around in line.” He paused then wrote, “Don’t get out of line.”
“What else?” I prompted.
He was still in high drama mode, and so he said, “Don’t die in line.”
“I don’t think anyone could help it if they died in line,” I said. And then I said the thing that I wished I could snatch back as soon as it came from my mouth. I said, “But you shouldn’t kill anybody in line.”
He started writing and I said, “Stop! Stop!” with visions of social services and guidance counselling darting around in my head. “I’m not writing that,” he said. “I put, ‘Don’t hurt anyone in line.’ ”
Thank God he has common sense. I toned it down and asked him what he thought about safety and repecting others’ personal space. I didn’t share the things that would take up at least half half a page.
Don’t strip down to your underwear in line.
Don’t throw your hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care in line.
Don’t line dance in line.
And so on.