Sorry, teachers, but I have always been uncomfortable with clip charts, card charts, all sorts of color coded levels of behavior. So this year when I found out my son’s, Liam’s, kindergarten class was run on a clip chart, I rolled my eyes but tried to open my mind up to it. I said, “Way to go!” on his green days and high fived with an “awesome, dude!” on the purple days. After awhile, Liam was a consistent green and purple kid. Most parents probably would be happy with this. Most parents, but I knew with all that is goes on and has been going on with Liam, there was a yellow day lurking in the shadows. Honestly after three-quarters of a school year approached, I wanted him to slip so that he would know that sometimes we aren’t perfect or sometimes it’s okay to learn from a bad day.
Today was that day.
It wasn’t a major offense. Liam was talking during work time. Okay, so he was chatty. So his mother and I had a choice…to carry out a consequence at home or to allow him to exact his own consequence, the one in his own mind. We easily chose the later. As soon as I picked him up, “Daddy, I got on yellow today…but it wasn’t…I was chatty.” I could already see the gear and machinations in his head turning and processing this new state of being. In the car we talked about what happened and what we might do differently next time. “Dad, it’s okay, because we learn from consequences…like, I’m no going to pick from the prize box on Friday, and that is my consequence…so tomorrow I won’t talk…or the next day…” I know my son has inherited my knack for speaking with unintended ellipses, so I don’t interrupt. “So, I’m just going to do that…I’ll do better tomorrow.”
Now, maybe this is an amazing feat of maturity from boy in the second-half of his sixth year, or maybe it is just because he knows his dad is a big proponent of growth mindset and he would rather not hear or deal with my “let’s-spin-this-as-an-opportunity” rant, but I could really care less. Fake it ’til you make it, kid. Somehow, somewhere down the line you’ll actually mean that if you don’t mean it now.
So in the end, I’m proud of him. I’m proud that he took his yellow day in stride. He knew it was wrong, but he also knew it wasn’t the end either. So in my book, that’s a purple day,…shoot, that is a rad rainbow day in my book. All of the colors. Way to go, son.