Flipping a Bird
It’s funny how different memories creep into your mind for no apparent reason sometimes. I was sitting here having my coffee this morning and for some reason I thought about an incident that happened when my son was little.He had started playing football and he thought he was the coolest thing since dirt. Actually he was, but when he started playing the part at school it was no longer very cool. The teacher had them all lined up out in the hall for something and he got out of line so she got on to him and that embarrassed him. When she turned around he flipped her a bird. Well, she might have turned around but like all good teachers, she had eyes in the back of her head and saw what he did.
Of course he got in serious trouble and I got a phone call. When he came home that afternoon he was hanging that little head, he wasn’t so cool anymore. I never spanked or whipped my children and at times they probably wished I had because I could be very creative when it came to punishments for problems incurred. I had time to think about this one before he got home and I was ready for him when he walked in the door. He came in apologizing and trying to explain himself and I didn’t say anything except “sit down”.
I had pulled out a brand new empty composition notebook and a pencil and had it laying on the table. I told him he was going to write “I will not shoot birds” until he filled that notebook. He really thought I had lost it. Of course he continued to try to defend himself and apologize and tell me all the reasons why he couldn’t fill the entire notebook but all I would say was “write”.
For three afternoons he spent the evening other than doing homework and eating dinner at the kitchen table writing sentences. Every so often I would look at that middle finger. After the third evening he had a blister on it. “Mamma, my finger hurts really bad,” he told me. “Do you think you are going to stick it up in the air at someone again?” I asked “No mamma, I won’t ever do it again, I promise. I mean it, I won’t ever shoot nobody a bird again.”
Too my knowledge he never did either. I don’t know what made me think about that this morning, but I had to laugh. He was a very dramatic child anyway and I kept that notebook for a long time because it not only contained the sentences, but it contained a valuable lesson about respect and a lot of his tears.