Two weeks, seriously?
My fourth-grade daughter hopped in the car after school today and promptly announced that she and her entire class have two weeks of detention for talking in the cafeteria today, starting tomorrow.
Two weeks, seriously? Come ON. That's a bit excessive for talking, I thought, but I have been in the cafeteria quite a bit and they do talk QUITE a bit. But this year they have changed cafeteria monitoring styles, using one quite effective male to keep everyone in line instead of three or four nearly useless women who have to spend the entire lunch period making threats. I'm not sure why the ladies were overseeing lunch today but evidently they weren't able to control the kids, who talked so much that they landed in detention for TWO WEEKS. My daughter did point out, though, that her class stopped talking once they reached the three DAYS in detention mark; the cafeteria lady must have heard Mrs. So-and-So's class talking.
Now, I'm one to be honest with my children. If I think two weeks of detention (or any punishment) is a bit much (or not enough) for a particular crime, I say so. They already know it anyway. BUT, we are working very hard to teach them to be respectful and obedient, so I always encourage them to accept what is handed to them and be mature about it, and learn from it. I wasn't upset about the two-week punishment since it was obviously out of line, so I just noted that it was a bit excessive for talking and moved on to the positive points, of which there are many!
When you are in detention, you must miss your recess (which is right before your lunch) and go sit in the cafeteria and read or do school work. (This is a bit traumatic for a child like my daughter who very rarely gets in trouble and on the rare occasion that she does, it's usually the result of a misunderstanding.) My daughter has gotten a bit behind in some of her work because of going to her advanced/gifted and talented class, so I said, "Oh! What a GREAT opportunity for you to catch up on all your reading or even get ahead! Think of all the reading you can do every day for two weeks!"
She agreed and thought that detention wouldn't be so bad, especially since it wasn't even her fault, it was the entire class who got in trouble. We have talked many times about how innocent people have to take punishment along with the entire group they are with. They should be mature about it, taking their punishment and letting it build their character. So that's another positive aspect of the situation.
I explained how sometimes bad situations turn out to be very positive (lots of reading, strong character building for the young people in detention) and even a blessing sometimes.
After this lovely discussion my first-grade daughter piped up and said HER whole class has detention tomorrow for talking in the cafeteria. (*sigh* why can the cafeteria ladies not keep order??) Oh well, reading time!
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