Letters of Apology
I don’t usually write two posts in one day, let alone in one week sometimes, but this is post-worthy.
Zack came home from Kindergarten with another yellow card today. It’s his second one this year (as in 2013, calendar year, not school year). I could tell he was upset. I was upset. I was disappointed. I was frustrated.
Zack is young. He’s the youngest one (literally) in his class. The one thing we are always watching out for is how easily influenced he is. Every morning when we get to school, before we get out of the car, we have a conversation about making good choices. Just because someone makes a bad choice doesn’t mean you have to do the same. “You are your own person and can make your own good choices.” I tell him over and over and over. I feel like he gets it – he understands, at least when we are discussing it. BUT, he is constantly getting stuck following other kids’ bad choices, which sometimes lands Zack in trouble.
I know Zack is a smart boy. I know he understands the difference between right and wrong. I know he understands rewards… today he learned a big lesson about consequences.
We get home from school (and from picking Brayden up from school too) and before we even get in the house, “Can I play, Mom?” “No. There is no playing today.” I get Brayden settled with a snack and a movie and go digging in my office for a small pad of lined paper. I tell Zack to sit at the counter (as he does most days after school to have his snack and do his homework), but this time is a little different. I write out a little note that he must copy: Dear Mrs. B, Sorry for throwing food at lunch today. I will make better choices. -Zackery (Yes, you read that right, my sweet little boy, with whom I snuggled with most of the morning yesterday, took part in a lunch room game of catch-the-broccoli).
I made Zack sit quietly and write a letter of apology to his teacher, and all five of the other kids in his class who took part. I made him sit there until all six letters of apology were done. By the time he finished it was already dinner time, so from the kitchen counter to the table he went. He moped as he ate, and I attempted to talk to him more about the earlier incident. He didn’t remember everything, but he said he knew that what he did was wrong. “What was going through your head when you were throwing food?” I asked him. He didn’t know, other than telling me “Well *kid’s name here* started it first!”
I made him sit at the table while Brayden and I finished our dinner. He wasn’t happy about that. He wanted to play. There is no playing today. I made him sit at the table with nothing to do for another half hour after dinner was over. Brayden was playing, but not Zack. Zack was learning about consequences.
I don’t know if I was right to make him sit at the table for so long or not, but what I do know is that I truly hope he understands now what it means to NOT follow bad choices. I also don’t know if his teacher will give out the letters of apology to the other five kids (the other five kids who also played catch-the-broccoli), but for me it’s more about Zack writing those notes and understanding why.
Once bedtime came and both boys had their jammies on it was a pretty normal evening – if ever there is one. We sat on the couch and read books. Zack even read two books out loud to us (I am really proud at how well he is doing with his reading, and I made sure to tell him that as I tucked him in). Zack and Brayden are both comfy-cozy in their beds. Let’s hope for different – better – choices tomorrow.