Son recently became the first child in our family in generations to serve detention at school. We're very proud. He was understandably anxious about telling us, but he finally broke down and announced, "All the teachers are out to get me." For those who don't have children, permit me to translate. This means, "I got totally busted at school and I'm hoping to play on your sympathies." In my very best patient-and-concerned-mom voice I asked,
"Okay, tell me what happened."
"Well, you know how at school we're not allowed to throw snowballs?"
"Well, um, a bunch of fourth-graders have totally taken over the good slide on the playground and they had piled up all these snowballs where the teachers couldn't see them." Oh what an affront to Son's fifth-grade dignity: being attacked by fourth-graders.
"Well so they were throwing them and I was just trying to ignore them when I accidentally caught one."
"Wait, you caught a snowball?"
"I see. Go on." Yes, I know very well what the odds are of actually catching a snowball, but I was interested to see where he was going with this. He did not disappoint when he said, and I'd like to stress that this is an actual quote,
"Well, you see, I was leaning over to set it oh, so gently on the ground when the teacher came outside and totally got the wrong idea." I'm afraid Son didn't get quite the reaction for which he'd hoped.
"I see. Well that's terribly frustrating, but the fact is, you had a snowball in your possession, is that correct?"
"And having a snowball in your possession is against the rules?"
"NO! Just throwing them."
"Okay, but the problem here is that just having it in your possession is enough to get you in trouble, do you understand that?" He hung his head.
"Especially, if you were setting it down oh, so gently with your arm in pitching position, as I suspect you may have been. Am I close here?"
"Um, well...yeah. Maybe, " he admitted sheepishly.
"So, the facts are that, for whatever reason, you were seen with something in your possession that you weren’t supposed to have, and the consequence for that is that you've got detention, is that right?"
"So I shouldn't catch snowballs anymore."
Someday someone may approach Son with drugs or something else that, if found in his possession, could land in him in a lot more trouble than detention during recess. Better that he learn now, while the stakes are small. When the time comes, I hope he doesn't let me down. Because I don't think he could do it oh, so gently.