My daughter, Jenny sat across from Liam’s kindergarten teacher, waiting to hear why her son was sitting in a chair with big tears rolling down his face. Liam was in trouble. It was obvious. The teacher’s face was set in a scowl and Liam was staring at the ground while the tears spilled onto his jeans. He was in so much trouble he had been kept after school and the office secretary had come out to Jenny’s car to tell her that she was wanted inside. Liam didn’t say a word to his mother as she walked in the room, he looked up quickly and then back down at the floor – silently crying because he had never been in trouble before. He liked school – no, he loved school – he would never do anything to cause a problem – and yet, here he was.
As the teacher began to explain the situation, Liam looked up at his mother to see her reaction – hoping she would understand that he meant no harm. He needed to explain to her why he had done it, why it was important.
“Mrs. Clark, as you can see by this board, the children have assigned tasks every day. Every child has his or her name on a clip, which holds their chore for the day. This helps each child learn about responsibility and that everyone has to share in the work.”
Jenny listens patiently to the explanation of the task board, stealing glances at her obviously distressed son, wondering what he did to cause such a problem.
“I assign these jobs every day and I keep track of who has what chore and if it gets done.”
Okay – maybe Liam didn’t get his task done, Jenny thinks. Why would that be a problem that causes this big a stir? Kids forget to do their chores all of the time – especially 5-year-olds who can be distracted by a butterfly.
“While I was involved in with another group of children, Liam re-arranged all of the chores according to who he thought should do them – and because he didn’t like the task he had been assigned.”
With this explanation, the teacher looked sternly at Liam and then at Jenny, obviously expecting some sort of reaction from the mother of this unruly and disrespectful child.
Jenny looked at Liam, who looked like a man on death row awaiting his execution. She just stared at him trying to figure out what she was going to say to him. Liam couldn’t stand the silence any longer – even though it only lasted about 30 seconds –
“Mom – I just gave the jobs to the right people!”
What’s a mother to do? She bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing out loud, tried not to sound too proud and told the teacher –
“I will talk to him about this on the way home. Thank you.”
With that, Jenny took Liam’s little hand, wiped away the tears and walked out. In the car, she hugged him, told him everything was going to be okay – and thought to herself – I have a future CEO on my hands! Nothing else needed to be said.