Sometimes, maybe more often than that…Please allow me to explain…
I think it was last Thursday or so when my little one had finished up her routine of doing her weekly chores. For most of you, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Usually they consist of the mundane type sort of stuff like cleaning your room, making your bed, taking out some trash every now and then and cleaning the dreaded litter box. This time, she decided to take it one step further and mow the grass.
Now for me, mowing the lawn isn’t all that hard. Being a graduate of the old school, I invested in one of those push mowers that don’t rely on gasoline or electricity but instead on good old fashioned sweat and muscle. Besides, I figure that the only other exercise I get is hauling my sorry ass out of golf cart and swinging a club every now and that doesn’t really qualify as a workout.
To be fair, the property that I live on isn’t really all that large and I can usually get it all done in twenty minutes or so if I push it. It’s not like plowing the north forty or anything but for her, an eleven year old, it took on a whole ‘nuther dimension. After about an hour or so of stops and starts and breaks for lemonade, she finally had it all done and as reward, I tossed her an extra twenty bucks for her efforts. Sound good so far?
Flash forward to this Wednesday.
As I was taking her home from school she happened to mention to me that there was some kinda fair going on at the school over the next couple of days and if I could maybe float her another twenty bucks so she pick out some baubles and trinkets and maybe an ice cream cone or two.
This kinda set my parenting radar up a notch since I had just gave her the money last week and I asked what she did with it. I’ll try and recreate her dialogue as best as I can, try picturing the voice of an eleven year old girl when you read it…
"We-eell, I kinda broke something at school last week when I was throwing around a rubber ball in one of the classes during after care. It was one of the clocks on the wall. I knew I shouldn’t have been in there by myself so I left the teacher a note from me with the twenty dollars in it to pay for it."
Well, my first emotion was to be pissed. Not at her, at the teacher for taking the money in the first place and in the second place, not informing either of her parents about what went on. I thought, what the hell are they doing, shaking down eleven year olds for some spending money? I mean, I know they’re underpaid and everything but this goes a little over the edge.
My second emotion was one of pride. I mean after all, my kid stepped to the plate when she could have looked the other way and tested the waters of trying to get away with something. Maybe she just doesn’t like feeling guilty, even if it is over such a simple little thing like a broken clock.
The next morning when I dropped her off, I went inside and asked to speak to the teacher in question. She then told me she was expecting me and how proud she was of Anna for being so honest and forthright and handed over the twenty. She said she had asked her (Anna) if she had told her parents what happened and was that the reason I was coming.
Well, there I was, bordering on bursting with pride while remaining a bit dumbfounded by the whole episode. I'm hoping that I’ll just have to get used to that combination of feelings as the years roll by.
I think there’s a saying out there somewhere that it’s the little things that you do that are the most important. It’s what you do on an everyday basis that for the most part that will govern how you live your life. It’s how character and integrity are built.
If that is indeed true, then so far I'd say she’s off to a pretty good start.
Let’s hope it stays that way.
Oh yeah, I gave her back the twenty...