I attended elementary school in an old brick building that, many years later, turned into a church – I think. The church was named Saint Some-One-Or-Other, but I can’t remember which saint. I think it’s now empty, but I’m not sure on that, either. There was one class for each grade and it seems as though there were only about 20 kids in each grade.
Even though there were only 20 sixth-graders out on the playground, those opinionated kids could get in a ruckus in a real hurry.
That’s what social media is reminding me of – sixth graders blowing off stink, on a playground.
Everyone is yelling.
He yells over them. She yells over him. They yell over each other.
No one is listening.
Everyone conveniently forgot the tenet about not speaking if you don’t have anything nice to say.
They’ve forgotten tolerance, and more importantly, they’ve forgotten kindness.
I never put my kids in a time-out. I don’t know why I never liked that form of discipline. Is the idea that the kid is supposed to sit in a chair, face the corner, and think about how to behave better? I guess because I’m a natural born over-thinker, I never thought the time-out chair was a good idea.
If – when I was a sixth grader – I’d ever been ordered to a time-out chair, I’m afraid of what I’d have over-thought about. Back then the subjects could have run the gamut from: Why do some sixth grade girls have big chests while others haven’t even started their periods? Why do almost all girls have crushes on sixth grade boys who are so clueless? Is world domination out of the question or a distinct possibility? Do I want to even mess with dominating a world inhabited by sixth grade boys?
(I’ve a vague recollection of being sent to my room, which is pretty much the same thing, but for an introvert, that’s like a snow day off from school!)
I knew, when my two were very young, that they had acquired my high-level over-thinking skills. I wasn’t going to give them an opportunity to over/out think me, so the only time-out chair we ever had was a cute little wooden thing we painted for a school fundraiser. We ended up buying it to put in the garden. (Imagine crickets, potato beetles and earthworms assigned to that chair for their time-outs.)
Now, however, a time-out chair would be heavenly. I’m not sure I’d even want the internet in my corner. I’d have a delicious chunk of time to happily ruminate on the usual subjects – cabernet vs. pinot vs. merlot; techniques for texturing the ceiling after popcorn removal; how to reclaim a neglected garden spot; do I really need AWD when front wheel is less expensive; why is it taking me so long to read the Harry Potter series when I’m enjoying it so much (see aforementioned time-sucking subjects); and what will I do with myself when kids are grown and gone?
I’m not pretending that any of these subjects are even remotely interesting to anyone else, but they aren’t unkind or intolerant or likely to raise my blood pressure. (That said, the popcorn ceiling removal was a pretty good workout.)
Anyhow, the ruckus on both social media and the airwaves has me fantasizing that if I were Queen for a Day, I’d assign everyone to their own time-out chair – especially the sixth graders.