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K2 had a rough day at school last week, but this diary is about the wonderful suggestion a teacher friend gave me to help deal with it.  Follow me below the dingledoodle squigglie dKosagnocchi dividerthingie fold after a word from our sponsor...

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Any of you who've ever picked up a child from elementary school knows that moment of dread when your kid's class gets to the door, the students rush out, and...

the teacher motions you over as your child stands hangdog nearby.

Yeah. This used to be a more common occurrence with K2, but he's worked incredibly hard this year to break the habits that get him in trouble. So, somewhat surprised, I walk over to see what's happened. Turns out that during math (which he is great in), he and another student were exchanging "funny" messages on a whiteboard. Except that his reply to her was less than funny. No need to share it except to say laughing at someone while saying you're better in math than them isn't funny.

The teacher told K2 she was disappointed. That he'd lost her trust and couldn't take part in Math Stations for the foreseeable future; he'd have to do worksheets alone. I asked what the school consequences were: loss of recess the next day, and had the Principal been onsite that day (offsite meeting) he would have had a seat in her office.

At home, the consequences were a known entity: 3 days without TV or electronics of any sort except for nightly online math homework, no ice cream, and a session with Mom and Dad to figure out, basically, what made him decide to bully another child?

I mentioned the event to a friend who teaches elementary and secondary school music, and she shared with me her classroom policy, summed up in one neat sentence:

If I do something wrong, I have to make it right
She said it's easy for teachers (or parents) to impose a punishment, but that most times it doesn't mean anything to the kid. But when they have to make it right themselves... they GET it. Then she suggested that if it had happened in her classroom, one way for K2 to "make it right" was to write a letter of apology.

K2 stared at us when we told him he had to make a written apology. Losing electronics, ice cream, TV, math fun, recess... he could handle that. Saying "I'm sorry, that was mean of me to say those things" had him begging not to have to do so. Which of course to us meant we were on to something :).  He wrote a letter, and we took it to his teacher before class the next day for her approval (last thing I wanted was for her to glance over and see K2 passing a NOTE to the kid!!) She said it was a very good idea, and thanked me. When he got home that afternoon, K2 said the other kid appreciated the apology, and that he felt better about himself for doing it.

I'm not saying there's no place for locking up the Wii for a few days, or that incarceration isn't a good idea anymore. But can you imagine a world where people tried to make things right when they do something wrong? Not retribution, but justice. Not punitive punishments, but an individual attempt for apology, restitution and repair.

Johnny pushes Sammy on the playground? An apology and Johnny carries Sammy's books the next day while the bruises on his arm heal.

Corporation X uses unfair business practices and thousands of people are cheated? Restitution is made to those who lost money or opportunity, and NEW opportunities are provided.

I'm sure you can think of examples as well, and I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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Top Mojo for yesterday, March 18th, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic! For those of you interested in How Top Mojo Works, please see his diary FAQing Top Mojo.
  1) If all of our elected Dems acted like Warren by DWG — 263
  2) Better stick around as much as possible... by brooklynbadboy — 219
  3) No. We have seen the limits of presidential by glorificus — 141
  4) If he were a member of the by gchaucer2 — 122
  5) Can you imagine hearing them say by commonmass — 117
  6) Angry Mouse, for one. n/t by la rocker sex chick — 114
  7) If all of our Dems acted like Warren, by Denver11 — 113
  8) This case strikes a blow at male privilege by commonmass — 113
  9) Whatever insights I can offer are yours. by brooklynbadboy — 112
10) Kaili Has More to Write About on Wonkette by JekyllnHyde — 111
11) what's Wonkette got that we ain't got? by TrueBlueMajority — 108
12) Isn't this exactly the sort of thing Fox/Murdoch by koosah — 104
13) Saved her 'soul' and lost her humanity by ontheleftcoast — 102
14) The history channel is a joke by Dopetron — 102
15) And no by Armando — 98
16) I am so sick of the lame excuse by kimoconnor — 97
17) I guess it's good that they announce themselves by Dave in Northridge — 96
18) I am so going to miss your voice here by Steveningen — 96
19) remember when the history channel used to by chaunceydevega — 97
20) They named themselves "Rape Crew," by New Jersey Boy — 96
21) Didn't they say they talked it over with the coach by Buckeye Nut Schell — 95
22) Burglars will still break and enter, too... by Meteor Blades — 95
23) While CNN ponders the shattered future of by theKgirls — 93
24) Congrats! by Armando — 92
25) It wasn't much better over on NBC by lotac — 88
26) Never mind President Obama, why a person of color by absdoggy — 87
27) Umm, wow. by ontheleftcoast — 86
28) Read the comments in the linked article. by Crazy Moderate — 85
29) Blessings for our beloved racheltracks by gchaucer2 — 81
30) The arrogance is astounding. by voracious — 80

Top Pictures for yesterday, March 18th.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!

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