Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sleep On It

I've usually told my kids, when they got into trouble, "you've made this bed now you'll have to lay in it".
There were two times I didn't. About 15 years ago, (give or take 5) my oldest, then about a 3rd grader, brought home his final report card for the year. It had an INCOMPLETE behind ART. I asked the typical thing that most fathers would ask. "You're taking art"? I asked him what the problem was. He was so mad, his eye's were red. "She said I didn't hand in my last project". "I did". "She's lost it". I have always hesitated to go to school and complain. Mostly because most of the administration have always been good friends. What to do? The teacher was widely known for being disorganized. I called her and told her who I was. I said "He says he turned it in, could you conduct another search for it". I got a call back in about 30 minutes and it had been found stuck to the back of another project. She'd be happy to change the grade.
The other incident that comes to mind was when my youngest was in High School and he turned in a book report at the end of the year. It was important to him because he needed a certain average to avoid taking the semester test, and he was teetering on the edge. He got his report back and the grade was not good enough. I had proof read the report and felt that it was not bad. When I started to study the paper it dawned on me that there had been a substantial error in addition on the -2 here, and the -1/2 there and so on. AND the one that got to me was the last question. It was something like, Give your opinion of the book and would you read another book by this author. In so many words my son had related that, no, he didn't like the book and wouldn't read another by that author. His Opinion was apparently wrong, because he got the full 4 points off.
I was going into a boil, I could hardly breath I was so mad. The teacher had obviously little regard for either this assignment, grading, or my son. It didn't matter, I was going to call the principal in the morning and get a meeting with him, and the teacher, and my son, and I. I slept on it. In the morning my mind was clear. Forget the meeting I thought. I said to my son. "Take this paper back in and say these exact words, My Dad thinks you may want to re-add the number of incorrect. And he was also wondering about the last question". He brought the paper home that night, it had been recorrected, and I think he had about 16 points added to his grade. Oh yeah, his opinion was no longer incorrect.
It taught me a lot about confrontation. When I'm ready to fly off the handle, in a public way, I sleep on it, and can usually come up with a plan to get my way without having to say something to regret the rest of my life.
Oh yes, the teacher was a good one, I think, but was just going through the motions until she figured out that someone was watching.


Rhodent said...

Yay dad! I agree with not interfering with your kids, but sometimes teachers need to be reminded of fairness. I can't tell you the number of times one teacher in HS lost papers and assignments that my kids took in. She should never have been teachng, much less be the department head.

JUST A MOM said...

uummmm would this post be directed at someone out there in the blog world? Yeah I do fly off the handle,,, I am learning to try and take a breath first OK! :)

Cliff Morrow said...

No it was not directed at anyone, mom. You'll have to remember that my mind is on 'scan'. The idea came to me some time ago and just now got around to blogging about it.
I 'chair' a lot of meetings and find that I have to bite my tongue a lot. But it usually pays off.

Jamie Dawn said...

I agree with your way of thinking.
I also have not rushed into every situation for my kids and tried to be the great equalizer, but like you said, there are some exceptions where we need to step in.
My mom has always been one to be slow to react, but when she does.... watch out! She'll hand your your lunch and cram it down your throat.
My dad is even slower to react and when he does, he's as gentle as can be. Extreme patience! You are probably more like him. I'm posting about him tomorrow.
I'm like my dad too.
My hubby is like my mom, except he doesn't usually wait that long to react.

taza said...

My dad was an "explode now, ask questions later" kind of guy. Learning to parent outside of this paradigm has been tough. Thanks for the insights!

Cliff Morrow said...

okay kids, lest any of you should think that I'm even tempered,,,I'm not. But I have learned a little about dealing people.

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

You are so right. So many times I see parents just ready to jump in there and scream and yell with something relating to school, and the teachers don't listen to this, they get defensive. At the same time I see parents not listen to their kids about a grade and just feel the kids are trying to explain away slackness.

Tight line to walk about blowing your top in anger, and playing the other way.

blue2go said...

That's a great concept that I'm just starting to learn after all this time--sleeping on it first before confrontation!

Christopher said...

Hi cliff marrow,

I agree it is much better indeed to sleep on it.

Take care

p.s. what a good lesson for your children too. (believe me they were watching and learning)

Lee said...

HI-good for you 'Dad'- Gosh- this one brings up so many times I had similiar situations wit my 2 Sons- it is hard when the Teacher si wrong-and it is very aggravating- I did have to go in and speak to them many times- other times I gave instructions as you did- believe it or not - the egos are great at times and they would give them a problem- then I ended up in the classroom once again...ahhh such sweet memories...Lee

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