Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Character Word of the Month: Tattling

Let's say the elementary school Youngest attends has a lion as its mascot. Students who do something extraordinary earn a Lion card. When students get five of those cards, their photos are taken and displayed in the main entryway. When students get 10 Lion cards, they get a pennant with the school's mascot and motto on it. "You roar like a Lion!"


Time passes. Principals come and go. And come and go. And come and go. Changes to how the cards are earned are made. Eventually, a principal comes in and decides those Lion cards are just too easy to earn. Maybe, she says, we should start giving out Lion Claw cards for acts of kindness and good acts that aren't extraordinary. Each week at flag ceremony, a couple of Claw cards are randomly selected. Winners get a pencil or an eraser or some other trinket of little value.


When the principal draws a winning Claw card, she'll read on the back of the card the reason it was given to the student. I've given them out for little kids who help another kid who is hurt or who ties another kid's shoe or who picks up a jacket or stray ball or piece of garbage without being asked to do so.


Citizenship and all that bullshit.


Before school this morning, a number of third-grade boys were called into the principal's office. I asked one kid what was going on. He told me the principal had given him a Claw card.


Hey, great. What for?


For tattling on another third-grade boy who was cutting in line.


For real.


Maybe we should just change the mascot. Our new motto could be, "We rat like vermin!"

2 comments:

Tara R. said...

Incredible. I could see praising a kid for telling about another student who was in danger or hurting someone, but that... that will get the kid beat up for being a tattler.

Patois said...

Tara, sadly, ratting each other out seems to be a kind of competition at the school. It's particularly bad for the kids deemed as bad kids. Everybody seems to just be waiting to catch them.

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