The Two Dimes And Other Phone Calls

Every parent dreads the school phone call. Rarely is a call from school a good thing — usually it involves sickness, injury or some other form of trouble. As the school year starts, however, I’m reminded of two school phone calls that I delight in recalling.

One day, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, he found two dimes on the playground. Since they were not his, he took them to his teacher, who instructed him to take them to the office. Since his grandmother worked in the office at that time, he felt comfortable giving over the dimes to her.

His grandmother then gave the two dimes to the principal, and they both thought it would be nice to just let my son have them. “But they aren’t mine,” he said, “Whoever lost them may come looking for them.”

“Okay,” said the principal, “we’ll hold them until after school, then if no one comes to claim them you can have them.”

My son left the office and continued his day.

After school, as he was walking out, the principal stopped him and held out the dimes. “No one came to get these,” she said with a smile, “here, you can have them now.”

My son looked at her and said, “just because no one came to get them doesn’t make them mine.”

The phone call came from his grandmother, laughing with delight as we discussed what to do with the dimes.

The other phone call came last year, when my youngest son was in fourth grade. It was only the second week of school, so a request to meet with his teacher couldn’t be for anything positive.

Preparing for a confrontation, I met with the teacher to hear her concerns. “Your son tries really hard,” was her comment, “but he tries so hard that he runs out of time.”

When I asked what she wanted to do about the issue, and expecting a list of punishments and penalties, she responded that she wanted to reduce the amount of work he had to do so that he could have success before moving on. She said that he works really hard and cares about what he’s doing, but the amount might be overwhelming. “We’ll reduce his workload and then gradually build it up,” she said, “that way he won’t get behind or feel like he can’t keep up.”

I sat stunned as she then proceeded to layout other rewards and positive reinforcements she wanted to implement.  This call from school was not to tell me that my son had a problem, but to tell me that she saw potential in him and wanted to help him succeed.

As the school year progresses, I look forward to the phone calls and meetings. I know that not everything my children do will be brilliant or well received, but there will be times when I am reminded of their goodness, and the goodness of their teachers, and I look forward to each and every one of them.


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Posted by admin on Aug 25 2011. Filed under Jeremy Gulley, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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