I am a pretty patient person.
I roll with the punches, and just glide and slide wherever the tide takes me.
I don’t get upset about too many things. I shrug stuff off and if I can fix it I do and if I can’t I just hope for a decent outcome.
You know, some things you have control over and other things you don’t.
The Kid was busy doing some drawings the other night, so I decided to have a peek inside his backpack.
I pulled out the way overdue library books, his big binder of homework and assignments, and another sort of shoulder bag backpack thing that I knew did not belong to him.
I called him forth.
“Whaddya want?” he hollered from his studio.
“I need you to answer a few questions for me...” I hollered back.
He came out clutching some colored pencils, looking at me as I held up the unfamiliar bag.
“What’s this?” I asked, “Or rather, whose is this?”
“Uh...” and he half smiled, “that belongs to my friend at school.”
“Mmmhmm. I figured as much. Whose is it and why do you have it?”
“Well, it’s Burke’s.”
“Yes. It’s Burke’s. Why isn’t Burke using it?”
“’Cause he gave it to me.”
His little hands started twitching about.
I thought, “Yep. I see this is not going to be something I want to hear.”
“OK. Did you trade him something for this or what? What’s the story, please, behind this bag. I know that his mother would not appreciate this nice bag being in your hands.”
He came over and knelt down by his backpack, taking the other bag out of my hands.
“Well, I told Burke that I had some airsoft guns and he wanted me to bring the airsoft pistol to school in this bag...”
I nearly soiled my shorts.
“Excuse me? Are you serious? He asked you to put an airsoft gun in here and then put it in your backpack and take it to school?”
He nodded with an unsure smile.
My poor innocent naive child. How dumb can you be?
“Do you have any idea what kind of crapstorm this would cause at your school?”
“But it isn’t real...”
“No, but it looks like a real weapon in spite of the neon orange tip. If anyone caught you with this at your school, the cops would get called in, I would get called in, daddy would get called in from work, which in itself would not be a good thing, and you would get expelled.”
“Is that worse than suspension?”
“Oh yes. It’s far worse. You would have this big black spot on your school record and likely would have to repeat the sixth grade. Do you want to repeat the sixth grade or do you want to do something dumb for your friend?”
“I don’t want to repeat the sixth grade and I won’t do something dumb for my friend.”
“That’s right. You are not an idiot, so don’t do stupid things. You tell your buddy that he needs to be aware of how much trouble something like this would cause. Seriously. What is he thinking? And what are you thinking? Are you that desperate to make friends that you’ll do something so ridiculous?”
He shrugged and said, “I didn’t know it would be wrong. It’s not a real weapon.”
“It is if it has pellets in it! If he brought that to school and put pellets in it and used it on someone, he could blame it all on you because the gun
belongs to you. Do you want that?”
Shock and disbelief crossed his face.
“No ... why would I get into trouble for something I didn’t do?”
“Because it belongs to you. And you provided it to him. He would get in trouble, but so would you. Not something I want to have happen. Ever.
If he wants an airsoft gun, tell him to ask for one for Christmas, but he is not laying a hand on yours.
He turned so pale I thought he might faint.
The enormity of what could have happened finally dawned on him.
“Are you going to tell your friend what I’ve just told you?”
“You know how they ask you at the airport if anyone asked you to carry something for them or if you packed your bag yourself?”
He nodded, “Like on ‘Bridget Jones’?”
“Yes. Like that. Remember how she took that bowl for her friend and then ended up in a Thai prison?”
He nodded again.
“That could be you. Would you like to have the same teachers again next year?”
He shook his head.
“You gonna take that bag back to your buddy and tell him ‘My mom said we’re idiots’?”
He smiled and nodded.
“Got it? You see how stupid this is?”
“Wow. I’m glad you told me. I do not want to get in any trouble at school. I’m already trying to stay under the radar.”
“Now. Give me your notebook and tell me if you are backlogged on any homework.”
The pale look crossed his face again.
“Dang it, dude. Get your paper and pencil and let’s get to work. Right this second.”
Control, folks. Take control of what your kids are doing, who their friends are, and what the heck they’re carrying in their backpacks.
You can’t shrug off stupidity.