Why We Should (Not) . . .

“Well,” my daughter said, “I wrote a number of essays.” She and her husband were going through the process to be approved as adoptive parents, and the question was what kind of discipline they had experienced in their home of origin. I admit her answer was true. The general requirement usually included 200 words of explanation (no number of pages, I’m onto writing big) of what was wrong with the action and some attempt at repentance.

I’ve been on a cleaning jag and found one of those saved missives written when we lived in Germany which I publish here, without the permission of my oldest son. I consider it a “work-for-hire” which means it belongs to me. His photograph reflects the age and attitude of the culprit at the time. You will note on the picture of the essay that a careful tally of words runs on the left side. He didn’t want to run over, yet he did feel compelled to finish his last sentence.

Why We Should Not Play Ball in Mom’s Room

The reasons we should not play ball in Mom’s room are many and diversified. Not only is it dangerous, but noisy as well.

Dangerous is a very ambiguous word, so let me ponder a moment to discuss this in full detail. Playing ball in mom’s room is, yes, very dangerous. In fact, it’s quite lethal. One, while playing ball, may find himself falling over desks, chairs, rolls of tape and/or even little clouds of dirt, which could result in the connection of one’s head to the floor below, further resulting in irreversible brain damage. Falling over the aforementioned objects brings into the picture the subject of noise. Have you ever, just for the fun of it, pushed a chair off the top of a desk? If you have, then you know about the tremendous impact this can have on the noise pollution scale, not to mention the headaches it can bring about.

Another point is about the walls. Germans may make their walls quite sound, but this does not, in any way, condone the bouncing of balls on them. Bouncing balls on walls (say, that rhymes) can leave ugly, nasty-looking marks that may cause negative reactions from (200th word) children and thus stunt their learning process.

A few years later, his  little younger brother had to write one on why one did not sass his mother while she was teaching him to drive. His concluding reasons admitted that she might be right and she did own the car keys.

Truth to tell, I was never sure my discipline with any of the three was taken as seriously as I intended. Nor am I sure that it had anything at all to do with their becoming productive adults – just grateful that it happened.