Ancient History

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My last reflections on the first week

Friday. Finally.

The kids have most likely pledged allegience to the flag of the United States of America for another day. They are settling into their classrooms. Ryley is prepared to do his first oral book report. Aidan is anticipating music class (they studied the music of Japan all week). And Sam?

He will not be karate-chopping anyone today.

On Tuesday, I picked Sam up from kindy. He was a little quiet. We got home and I began asking him how his morning went. He was in our empty dining room, lying on the floor when he said “not very good.”


“I got in a fight with boys and had to do a time out…”

“Oh! Sam! A fight? What happened, why?”

Suddenly, the years ahead unfurled before me and I could see Sam’s future: A chair, monogrammed with his initials, in the Principal’s office. A permanent record as thick as the NYC White Pages (M-Z). The Bully. The dude from “The Breakfast Club” who smokes in the library and uses his face to strike the matches. A motorcycle.

I launched into a lecture about how there are better ways to solve our problems than fighting. It is never the answer. Try talking, ignoring, or walking away! If kids are still causing trouble, talk to a grown-up. Say “I’m mad!” but don’t hit. Ever. I went on and on and on. And on.

He just looked at me.

It was a burden all day. I couldn’t believe that Sam, on the second day of kindergarten, had already been involved in a fight.

When hubby got home, Sam and I told him what happened at school, together. Hubby wasn’t angry, but definately disappointed. And Sam got another virtually identical lecture.

The next day I approached the teacher and said I knew about Sam’s fight and I assured her we had no tolerance for his behavior. I was quite somber as I explained, until I noticed she was looking at me like I was ca-razy.

“Sam was in a fight?” she said.

That is when another mother stepped forward and said the same thing—her son confessed he had been in a fight too.

After a short investigation, the teacher realized what happened: the boys were playing “karate” on the playground. The playground monitor told them not to play-fight, and had them sit along the wall for a few minutes.

All the scenarios spinning through my head of Sam’s future came to a screeching halt. He wouldn’t be spray painting underpasses and drinking Jolt Cola in detention because of a fight on the second day of kindergarten.

It was boys being boys. And if it had been a fight, I would have been very foolish to let it color my dreams for his future. The brilliance of forgiveness and second chances is that we can try again.

That applies to me, too.

7 comments to My last reflections on the first week

  • Shayne

    Gretchen, in your usual way, you can make me smile even while conveying a serious message. I’m glad it was nothing more serious than a pretend fight for Sammy. And, not to worry, all the same thoughts would have entered my mind too!

  • Tracy (tjly)


  • Heather (thequeenbeam)

    Did he win?

    Just kidding of course.

    I love how Sam’s dark future all climaxed at an italicized motorcycle. You crack me up.

    (it occured to me that I remember seeing another Heather comment, I added the parenthesis to clarify)

  • LOL The poor kid was play fighting!!! I wonder if he will do that soon. Sometimes we can be so eager to judge our own kids

  • Let’s hear it for second chances.

  • My Isaac really did slug a kid on the first day of school last year. By the end of the year they were best friends. We had the good old violence is not the answer talks, but I have to admit that I was secretly relieved that my child was not going to let himself be picked on, as I did growing up. The fact that Sam’s conscience was bothering him ought to ease those worries! And now you know that he will tell you the truth, before the teacher does.

  • Julana

    Today’s our son’s first day. The beginning of the year is a big transition.

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