“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu
When Carter started school this past August… we had issues with him not telling us the truth when he got in trouble at school. His teacher sends home every day a yellow notebook that has a calendar in a clear plastic sleeve inside. On the calendar it has on each day a smiley face, a “straight” face and a sad face. The teacher circles one of the faces each day. If he has a great day – the smiley face is circled. If he gets in a little bit of trouble – the “straight” face is circled. If he gets in really bad trouble – the sad face is circled. Usually if the straight face or sad face is circled the teacher will write a little note explaining why he got in trouble.
In the beginning of the school year he had several “straight” and sad faces circled. I always knew if he got in trouble because of the “straight” or sad face was circled and I had a little note. If I questioned Carter about getting in trouble and actually show him the calendar with the faces circled – he would bold face lie and tell me he did no wrong. I had to reassure him that if he tells mommy the truth that his punishment would be less than if he lied. As the school year went on the circled “straight” and sad faces became less. If he did happen to get a “straight” or sad face he started telling me before I opened up his yellow notebook. Usually, if he has a “straight” face circled I will not let him play on the computer during the afternoon (he loves the PBS Kids website). If he has a sad face – then he doesn’t get to play on the computer and with his Skylanders for the afternoon.
It has been around 2 months or so since he had his last “straight” or sad faces circled – all circled faces have been smiley faces. On Tuesday, I picked up the kids from school, like I normally do. Carter got in the car and the first thing he says to me is “Mommy, look at my face. I got this kind of face circled today.” He was making his lips straight. I asked him why did he have the “straight” face circled and he told me it was because he was talking. I said “Well, you know you are not suppose to be talking when the teacher says no talking.” He replied “I know. I just couldn’t help it.” So, when we got home I took out his yellow folder and looked at the calendar to see what his teacher had written. Well, it wasn’t the teacher who had circled the “straight” face… it was Carter who had circled the “straight” face and he had written out to the side “talking”. I questioned him about the circle and the note. I asked him why he wrote it. His response “I was being honest.” Needless to say I am not sure if the teacher got on to him for talking and he felt guilty and circled the face and wrote “talking”… or what.
Later on in the evening he came in to the living room where I was sitting and said to me… “I sure wish I could play PBS Kids on the computer.” I told him that he could play on the computer if he wanted. He responded with “No, mommy… I can’t. I got in trouble at school.” I replied with… “You know, you are right.” I could have let him go ahead and play on the computer – but I wanted him to be proud of himself for being honest with me and to know his punishment.
All of this made me smile…
- As soon as he got in the car he told me he got in trouble
- He circled his on “straight” face
- He wrote “talking” in the note box
- He came to me telling me what he would like to do (playing on the computer)
- He corrected me letting me know he couldn’t play on the computer because he got in trouble
This tells me he understands, in a sense, his punishments and can accept the punishments without a fight or an anxiety attack.
Baby steps… baby steps make me so happy! 🙂