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  • 25. November, 2015BlogComments are off

    There are many stories throughout all of our live that our parents, teachers, and all other people in positions of authority teach us. But if the truth is told, we know the answers to the problems that we ourselves create.

    This particular story can be any of ours and is representative of how parenting done the correct way can lead to lessons learned and will probably never be forgotten. I give a tremendous amount of credit to Mike Schneider for telling his story about his experiences as a youngster, messing up and then thinking about it, doing some soul searching and then telling Nance Schneider. I have edited it in places because I wanted this story to be relevant to my student population. I even slipped in some of my own life experiences and the lives of some of the kids I have had the opportunity to meet and get to know.

    The other day at school we had an assembly. When a speaker is talking, we are supposed to be quiet and listen—–sound advice, and that’s what I usually do. But this time I kept talking to my friend, Jamie. My Spanish teacher, Mrs. Nussbaum, got up and walked around, trying to figure out who was talking, so I looked innocent and kept quiet until Mrs. Nussbaum, gave up and sat down.

    Then I started again. What I didn’t see was that our Physical Education teacher was sitting two rows ahead of me. She got up and came over to me to behave and listen, and then she went back to her seat.

    After the assembly, Mrs. Nussbaum asked me if I had gotten into trouble. “Not me,” I answered. “It must have been someone else.”

    Mrs. Nussbaum looked at me and said, “It’s a good thing it wasn’t you, or you wouldn’t be going on our trip to Amish country next week.” Then she excused our class and sent us outside. I thought I was off the hook until we came into the building after lunch. I saw that Mrs. Nussbaum and my P.E. teacher were speaking to each other, and they were looking my way.

    Our class’ next period was Spanish and when we got to our Spanish room Mrs. Nussbaum told our class that we had some thinking to do. She said, “someone” had caused a disturbance in t he assembly, and until she found out who it was our special trip to the Amish country was on hold; which means that we might not be going at all. When some of my classmates pointed to me, Mrs. Nussbaum said she had already asked me, and that I had said it wasn’t me. She went on to say, that I was an honest kid, and had no reason to lie to her. She was looking right at me in a kind of funny way when said that and then turned away.

    Jamie looked at me and said, “You are guilty of causing this problem, why don’t you admit it”?

    “Because then she’ll call home, and I’ll be in lots of trouble and probably won’t be allowed to go on our trip and my parents will probably add on to my punishment by not allowing me to play soccer playoff game tomorrow night.”

    “So, we all have to suffer because of you? That’s not fair.”

    Mrs. Nussbaum heard us talking and said, “Did you was want to say something, Jamie?”

    Jamie looked at me. I wasn’t sure if he was going to turn me in or not. Then he said, “No nothing,” as he glared at me.

    After school, I waited until everyone had gone. I decided not to take the bus with the rest of my class. It was a lucky thing for me that I lived pretty close to school. I really didn’t want to face the rest of my classmates because of what I had done.

    Why did I have to talk when I wasn’t supposed to? Worse yet, why couldn’t I just admit it and apologize and hope that the punishment wasn’t being held back from going on this special trip. Now, I had gotten the whole class into trouble…big trouble.

    I got home twenty-five minutes later stood by the kitchen door with butterflies in my stomach, knowing what I had to do. I walked in and saw my dad.

    “Hi Mike, mom is running late, so I’ve started supper. You know that you have soccer practice tonight before tomorrow’s playoff game. You’d better change.”

    I looked at my dad. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

    I lowered my head because I was so embarrassed and quietly told him the whole story. He looked at me, clearly disappointed in what I had done and told me we had to call Mrs. Nussbaum right away. My dad called the school and because there was a faculty conference that day, all the teachers were there. When the operator answered the phone my dad told her who he was and asked to speak to Mrs. Nussbaum. When she picked up the phone, my dad introduced himself and asked Mrs. Nussbaum to please hold on for a moment. He then handed the phone to me. My response was to my dad was, “Do I have to speak to her?” He then said, “Yes you do, you were the one who caused this and you will be the one to fix it.”

    After I told Mrs. Nussbaum that I was the bad kid in the auditorium and then again in the classroom for lying, she said that I wasn’t a bad kid, I had just messed up, but in the end, I had been honest and confessed everything. She also said that she wasn’t going to punish me.

    When I got off the phone, my dad said, “I’m proud that you finally admitted what you had done, but I think it’s sad that Mrs. Nussbaum had to almost punish you and the entire class for you behavior.

    “Does that mean that I can’t go to soccer practice tonight which would mean that I couldn’t play in the playoff game because one of the rules of our soccer coach is that if you miss a practice before a game, you don’t get to play in the game.

    My dad’s answer stunned me. He said, “That’s up to you. You decide if you think that deserve to go to practice.” I looked at my dad and immediately knew the answer. I said to my dad that I would call the coach and tell him that I wouldn’t be at practice and tell him why? I was really upset because I would be embarrassed by having to tell the coach the whole story. I called the coach and told him the story. He said that he understood and then asked to speak to my dad. They had a very short conversation and they said, “Goodbye.” I was happy about finally telling the truth, but I was devastated that I would miss the big playoff game. I had looked forward so much in playing in that game. Last year the Red Hawks had beaten us 2-0, but our team had improved greatly this year. I was the starting goalie and we had beaten the Red Hawks both times that we played them this year. With me out as goalie our chances for us to beat them tomorrow was greatly diminished (lessened). Now I believed I had let my soccer team down. I didn’t know if I could ever face them again.

    When my mom and big brother came home later they asked why we weren’t going to soccer. My dad looked at me and explained it all. “Wow,” my brother said. “What?” I asked. He said, “Well, I think it’s great that you told the truth, even though you knew that you would miss practice today and the playoff game tomorrow. I respect you for that.” I like my big brother and I look up to him. Originally, I thought that he only respected me because of my goal keeping. Now I knew differently. He respected me because of my honesty. That helped ease my pain some, but I still felt terrible.

    Later that night, my brother helped me write a letter apologizing to Mrs. Nussbaum and the class, and also my soccer teammates. Even though I was nervous about going to school and later that day, to my soccer team. But I knew what I had to do.

    The next day in class I was shaking as I read from my paper in front of the classroom. When I finished, I didn’t know what to expect. Some kids were upset with me, and I don’t blame them, but other kids came up to me and thanked me for being honest.

    Later that day I read the same letter to the soccer team and they were disappointed in me for getting into trouble and the punishment, but they really understood. I sat on the bench for the first period and we were down 1-0 when my family appeared at the game. I was surprised, but the coach didn’t look like that he was surprised. My father walked over to the coach and they spoke for a moment or two and then my dad turned to me and smiled and said, “Mike, I think it’s time that you suit up and get ready to play goalie for the second period. You’ve served your punishment.”

    My heart jumped for joy as a cheer went up from the team. I hurriedly put on my uniform and gear and got ready for the game. Five minutes later we went out and played our hearts out and I am proud to say that we won 2-1 in double overtime.

    For sure, I do not talk during assemblies anymore, and I have learned my lesson well. And, I don’t lie anymore because in the end, it makes life simpler to simply tell the truth, even when I do mess up.

    What would you have done when Mrs. Nussbaum first asked Mike if he was the one causing a problem? Why?

    Do you think that Mike’s father acted the correct way when he handed the phone to Mike and told him to apologize to Mrs. Nussbaum? Why or why not?

    Do you think that Mrs. Nussbaum handled the situation correctly?

    Why didn’t she punish Mike?

    Why didn’t Mike’s father tell him about his punishment of being held out of half the game?

    What effect did that have on Mike?

    How do you think your parents would react if they were in the same situation as Mike’s dad?

    Do you think that Mike’s coach was fair? Why or why not?

    If Mike were not the starting goalie would the coach have played him? Why or why not?

    Do you think that Mike learned his lesson? Why or why not?

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