April 27, 2009

Good Kids, Bad Choices

I have two daughters. They are the lights of my life. They are so talented and lovely and smart they make my teeth hurt. The sort of children every parent hopes to have. I don't know how I got so lucky. But they are great. Sometimes a bit too wise for their own good, but still...

My oldest walks the straight and narrow so well she could be a plumb line for a builder. The younger one tests the waters a bit more. She is very social and I do monitor her behavior more closely. She has a "boyfriend" (more like a grade school sweetheart), and I've laid down very strict rules. Anytime I ask, she has to hand me her cell phone so I can scroll through the text messages. If there is an inappropriate one, I will suspend her text privileges or call the parents of the inappropriate text sender. What she doesn't know is that I am a complete text doofus, and I have no intention of telling her that. Shhhhhh.

The Plumb Line, she couldn't be bothered with texting unless it discussed the latest math and science discoveries. She is the prettiest little nerd I ever met. The other day one of the girls she hangs out with skipped choir and hid in the bathroom texting. The girl was caught and got a detention. The detention was mild to the punishment my little Plumb Line had in store. She came home absolutely aghast at this girl's behavior, and planned to distance herself from this rabble rouser. I suggested she would serve her friend better by remaining a friend and setting a good example.

Then to illustrate the point, I shared one of my more embarrassing stories. When I was in 6th grade, on the verge of graduating to the JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, I decided to leave our mark upon the elementary school we had called home for the past 6 years.

We were in a small school, one class for each grade. I was a leader of sorts in our micro-world. I convinced all the 6th grade girls of my stellar idea. We were going to write graffiti on the walls to display our obvious preparedness for the JUNIOR HIGH. We were going to use... gasp... curse words! This would be an absolute demonstration of our maturity for the big leagues.

I pondered over how to best display our readiness for Junior High. The words reached me like a vision. A phrase so filled with brilliance and the ability to use TWO, not one, curse words. I convinced my classmates that the lasting graffiti for us to leave as our legacy was:

"Shit your ass off"

Being the ringleader that I was, I wasn't going to do the actually writing. Rather, I convinced my friends to do the dirty work. And within a day, the lower 5 grades were encouraged to shit their asses off. The principal somehow or another discovered I was behind the brilliance. I was the one responsible for leaving behind such a noteworthy message for the young ones who followed. I had to stay after to clean the stalls. I'm so grateful that my followers had the sense to use pencil. I think pens were for the Junior High kids. Thank goodness we weren't deemed ready yet.

Even bad choices can be erased.

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