When I dropped Kate off at school, she was more clingy than usual and wanted me to stay.
Ms S, the teacher who taught her last year, called me aside and told me about a little incident that happened the day before.
Ms S was walking past the children when she heard Kate saying to her classmates, “You all better put the books properly back on the shelves, if not teacher will put you on the thinking chair.”
(I can just imagine a tiny little Miss Bossy wagging her fingers at her bigger friends.)
The other kids looked worried and started packing up the reading corner.
|Uh-oh. Who’s naughty?|
Ms S pulled her aside and asked her what did she say to her friends.
“Nothing”, came the immediate reply.
Nobody gets punished because of a slightly messy reading corner, and Kate was aware of that.
“Nothing? You sure? What did you say to your friends?”
“Nothing”, and she looked away.
If Kate had simply explained what had happened, that would have been the end of it.
However, she knew she did something wrong, and decided to lie and cover it up.
After pressing her repeatedly, Kate said that she wanted the corner to be tidy.
Ms S spent the next few minutes, or however long it must have taken, to get Kate to admit her mistake, before teaching her that it is wrong to scare her friends with untruths, and that she should not lie when being questioned, but to own up to it and apologise.
Some might say it is just a small matter.
It was an incident that could have been ignored.
After all, Ms S was on her way out as she had finished teaching her class for the day.
She did not need to make the extra effort to pull Kate aside to discipline her.
As parents, we know how draining it is to correct kids and it takes a lot of patience. We have our excuses – a bad day at work, a multitude of worries bothering us, or simply being too exhausted juggling between work and family.
Kate wasn’t even her current student.
Yet, Ms S was committed to her calling as an educator. To raise the next generation of children with right morals values.
For every time when we allow a transgression to go unchecked, we have failed them.
For every time when we do not hold our children to higher standards, we have failed them.
And when we start to see bigger issues in future, we wonder how that happened and what went wrong.
The more I am aware,
The more I have grown as a parent,
The more I can see how I fail as a parent.
Sometimes, I wonder.
Is it really their fault? Or mostly mine?
After recounting the whole incident, Ms S awaited my reaction.
Nope, I was not defensive.
I did not make excuses for Kate.
I did not doubt Ms S nor think that she was making a mountain out of a molehill.
After so many kids, I have gone past such myopic responses.
Instead, I was worried.
“Oh dear. For the 1 time that you catch her, there may be 9 other times she’s gone unchecked.”
I can just imagine this little imp, with all her tricks up her sleeves.
And she’s only 3.
Ms S burst out laughing, “I’m sure you can take it. She’s your 6th.”
Discipline #6: Ban books? What are you gonna do about phones?
Discipline #7: 10 House Rules for Gadget Use
Discipline #11: Who has the energy to discipline our kids