Have you ever made a mistake? I mean a really big mistake? Well, in a moment of frivolity, I made a mistake. It is foolish to say things that you really don’t mean when joking around with friends. Wait! It’s just foolish to say things you don’t really mean! So, here’s the story–and it is a true story–unfortunately, it’s my story…
A few days ago, my eight year old son gave me a note from school about a party that his class is having. It requested that we send $3 with him to school for this upcoming Christmas party. Playing the Scrooge I complained that I already pay a lot of money in property taxes which include school taxes. Then I wrote on the paper that very thing and said that I thought it was ridiculous to pay anymore than I already pay! Then, in a moment of sheer foolishness, I told my son to show his mother the note and then give it to his teacher.
Now here’s the lesson for me: Don’t tell your eight year old to give anything to his teacher if you really don’t want her to see it! Second, don’t forget to tell your wife, who knows your sense of humor, about it so she makes sure that it is not returned to your eight year old’s teacher. Finally, don’t be stupid and say foolish things! Well, I obviously did not follow the third lesson, but it is a teachable moment for my son…and me.
When my son told me that he had given his teacher the note, I turned as white as a sheet. Needless to say, my wife socked me on the arm and asked, “What were you thinking?!?” My response, “Well, I was only kidding! I didn’t really expect for him to give the note to his teacher!” My son retorted, “Dad, why did you tell me to do that if you were only kidding?” Talk about embarrassing.
The following morning, I walked my son into the school to ask forgiveness from his teacher for my foolishness. She was glad to see me. She told me that she was about to send me an email asking for me to come and see her and wanted to speak with me about my note. I immediately asked for forgiveness and apologized profusely to her for my foolishness. I told her how I jokingly say to my wife that there’s too much government waste (which in reality there is but there are also some very good programs out there as well). I’m always kidding with her about her job and what she does all day and we get a laugh out of it. I said all of this in front of my friend while I was writing that on the note from school. After explaining this to my son’s teacher, she ended up laughing with me and all is alright now that everything is clarified.
You see, my wife works for a government agency. My mother worked for a government agency. My twin sister used to be a second grade teacher. My oldest sister is school teacher. My nephew is a school teacher. My step-dad is a school teacher. I have more family that have teaching degrees and have been in ISDs for years and years. I know that they each struggle with budgetary items for their classrooms and jobs. It’s the nature of the beast. I also know and realize that teachers are constantly spending their own money to help their students throughout the year. They have to supply many of their own supplies for their careers. It’s much like a mechanic having to buy his own tools or a pastor who has to buy study materials which are his tools.
Things are expensive nowadays. Teachers are some of the least appreciated people it seems (so are preachers!). My joke was not appropriate nor was it appreciated by anyone. Foolishness generally is not appreciated and it is certainly inappropriate.
I asked my son to forgive me for my gaffe and he did. I asked his teacher to forgive me and she did. If I have offended you I ask you to forgive me as well. I’m thankful that they forgave me and we have laughed about it since then, but the ramifications will continue for a time. Then, when the dust is settled, I hope people will simply realize that I’m just as human as they and we all make mistakes…BIG mistakes…ugh!