School atmosphere has certainly changed over the years. I remember my mom saying the worst 'behavior issues' in her day were chewing gum and passing notes in class. In my own school days I can recall some pretty severe teasing and bullying, and some fist fights (none involving me of course!) A few weeks ago, my son had a girl removed from his third grade class by the police. There are a lot of kids with a lot of problems these days, and it is sad.
In the midst of all this craziness, I sort of had to chuckle the other week when I had a very upset young man come home, nervous to inform me that he had gotten 'written up' on the bus. Now, let me say, my boys are really quite good for the most part. I hear from their teachers regularly (in fact Seth's teacher sends home a weekly report on which he always gets the highest marks for behavior) that they are respectful, well behaved, helpful and show good leadership qualities. Last year Seth got a 'good-citizen' award. On MOST days I am really proud of the them (I qualify this statement by saying they are still normal boys and we most definitely have days where I am LESS than proud of their actions!). All this to say, they are good kids, but obviously, no kid is perfect. Thus, Seth's bus write up. The infraction? He threw a paper airplane at his brother. (Who also then threw it back, but just happened to miss the backward glance of the bus driver, so got off scott-free!) Seth felt terrible, was so worried about getting in trouble at home, and even had to report to the principal the next day. This coming on the heels of a child being removed by the police sort of made me think "Seriously?!? A paper airplane?!?", but I understand that bus drivers need to keep the chaos to a minimum, so....whatever. Todd & I tried to put on our serious faces as we discussed the violation with him, and explained why bus drivers need kids to not be throwing stuff around the bus. Seth was very compliant, and he told us about his meeting with principal...who just smiled at him and said, "Seth, I know you're not going to do this again, right?" He said "Right," and she told him that he just needed to get our signatures on the write-up form. As Todd signed the paper, he told Seth about his own bus driver as a kid...who happened to be his mom. He said that she, on more than one occasion, wrote him up, he had to go to the principal, AND got in trouble when he got home as well. The kids all cracked up thinking about Grammy sending Dad to the principal, and the 'seriousness' of our discussion lightened considerably.
As I've prayed for my kids of late, in addition to asking God to keep and protect them, to give them good and godly relationships and to help them to keep seeking after him for all of their days, I also have just remembered to smile and thank him for their soft, tender hearts that really have been such a blessing to me. And if the worst we deal with this year is paper airplanes...well...I'm pretty okay with that. :)