Monday, March 15, 2010

I didn't commit forgery until 9th grade

My dear son has me beat. Apparently, he cheated on a math test last Friday by using a calculator. His teacher sent a note home for me to sign. Which he did.

I feel oddly calm. Maybe because I am so fed up with the school system anyway. Maybe that's what happens when you tell a room full of third-graders that if they get an F in math, they will have to repeat the grade. Maybe I am so sick of trying to cram my kids into someone else's idea of what they should be.

Do I want my kid to be a big ole liar? Of course not. But I no longer think I can punish, lecture, guilt or otherwise force him to be honest. I think if he felt good, his behavior would be good. Obviously, something is wrong, but he is the only person who really knows what it is.

He kept asking what his punishment was going to be. I finally said, "I've punished you for lying before and it hasn't stopped. So now I'm interested in hearing how you are going to change this behavior." He just kinda stared at me like he was waiting for the other shoe to drop. And then we made a list of what he could do instead of lying or cheating.

I sent him outside to sweep the leaves. Not as a punishment, but so he could feel capable and useful. Eventually, we all ended up out there, sweeping, weeding and scooping the piles of leaves. Finn said, "Yay, family work!"

I hope so.