16 MAY 07
Perhaps this is something best left for the parents over at Joe Speaker’s new digs Don’t Forget to Flush. As a proud Republican (neglecting for the moment the passing of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, who attributed 9/11 to God’s punishment of the U.S. for our immorality), I am a proponent of shame as a useful tool for discipline. There may be plenty of Democrats out there who share this belief, but it seems to fit more with the core values of Republicans. It has to because we can’t use corporal punishment anymore. Unfortunately, a few wayward folks actually liked beating kids and gave the rest of us a bad name.
Fast forward to yesterday. There is a message on my answering machine:
Female Voice: Hello, Dr. and Mrs. Chako? This is Ms. Harvey, Jared’s 4th grade teacher. He has something to tell you.
Sound of phone transferring over to a distraught 9 year-old.
Jared (sobbing): Mom and Dad? I was being very disruptive in class. I was not paying attention in reading group and I didn’t stop when Ms. Harvey asked me too. This is really bad for me and it keeps others from learning. I’m really sorry.
The phone transfers back to Ms. Harvey
Ms. Harvey: If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.
Now that’s what I call discipline, and led me to the title of this post. How terrible it must have been for my son to leave that message.
Of course, this leads to a whole other problem. When Mom and I had the stern talk with our son last night, I was forced to quote my dad:
Son, school is the single most important thing you have to be concerned with.
For those of you not related to me, that quote certainly must seem like sage advice. If you happen to be from the Chako clan, that quote will give you shivers and may make you hurl. We heard this as kids more times than you would believe. I SWORE I would never repeat it to my kids. I’ve used variations in a lame attempt to saying something close, but not exact.
So much for that. You can’t change the perfection of a simple, concise message. Thanks a lot, Dad.