I happened to be in class during their journal writing/creative writing session the other day.
Most students were writing about their recent cross country carnival.
Mac had indicated ‘YES’ he did want to write about Cross Country.
He was asked to spell out the key word for his story as a starting point.
He used the Zygo Macaw with the full alphabet and started… A – N – K some frustrated kicking… U – Y more frustrated kicks…
“Do you want to try again?” he was asked
“Are you happy with A – N?”
He continued choosing letters… G – R – Y
A – N – G – R – Y was the end result.
We asked Mac if that was what he wanted to spell. ‘YES’ was the response.
“Were you angry?” I asked “NO”
“Was Mrs R angry?” I asked “NO” (to which Mrs R joked it was probably a miracle)
And then it dawned on me… Some children had got into trouble at X-Country for throwing stones and breaking a light.
We knew this had happened because my Uncle owns the X-Country course and he and Mac’s Pa had been discussing the ‘issue’. It turned out some of the younger students from some of Mac’s classes were responsible for the damage.
And so we continued our discussion…
G: Were some of the kids angry?
G: Did they break something?
G: Did they get into trouble?
G: Do you know who it was?
G: Are they naughty boys?
G: Were they being silly?
G: Did they have a bit of a brain snap?
The thing was this didn’t strike me as the type of story Mac would tell – I still wasn’t sure I was getting at the crux of what he wanted to talk about.
His aide ‘R’ cottoned on quicker than I did.
R: Are you worried about the boys?
a-ha, now I have an inkling of what is going on.
G: Have you heard about them getting into trouble?
G: And are you worried about what that means?
And so the conversation continued. Mac and I discussed what getting into trouble was all about and what kind of consequences these type of actions could incur. I explained how there were no ‘beatings or batterings, no one would be locked in a room, a cupboard, a box or any other place. They wouldn’t be sent away from the school, they might have to show (or at least act like they were feeling) remorse. We discussed what this might look and feel like.
I actually went through it as in-depth as I could realising that Mac really had no understanding of what ‘getting into trouble’ truly looked like. Mac is a child who at this stage of his life is unable to get himself into a position where he would need to be disciplined. He doesn’t yet have independent communication and, while I don’t plan on limiting his vocabulary at all, it still will remain quite difficult for him to get into strife.
Sure, I can see a time in the future when he may use a switch adapted sling shot with butane gas & fireball attachment inappropriately, but for now, he is a pretty trouble free child.
It still fascinates me what Mac does and doesn’t understand and I love the interesting journey these conversations take us on.
Fear of the unknown, as with all of us, remains significant.
However, I am pleased to say that once we had our big discussion about all things “Cross Country and beyond” Mac decided he wasn’t worried about the boys anymore – he thought they would be ‘OK’.