Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sometimes You Win When You Lose

     When it comes to being at a certain place at a certain time, there are two kinds of people...those who are early and those who are late. My wife and I are the perfect example of each. I will be sitting in the church 15 minutes before church starts. My wife will scurry in behind the choir. I would rather not go to something if we're going to be late. My wife is completely oblivious to the time. If something is at nine, she seems to think that nine is the time to leave the house.

     At school we had Dan, who was a character, with a terrible late problem. As you know schools don't take tardiness lightly. 

     Dan's lates started gradually. He filled in late slips and dutifully reported to study hall for his detention. Well, unfortunately schools up the ante as the lates continue. Schools even phone home about lates. After a phone call Dan would be on time for a few days or a week and then the whole scenario started over again. So then Dan's very supportive  parents were called in. There was improvement for a short time. The parents made sure that Dan left the house to be at school on time but he was still late. The parents drove Dan to school for a while to get him there on time. 

    One day the vice principal caught Dan sitting on a swing at an elementary school. The vice principal picked Dan up and brought him to school. By this time Dan and the vice principal were good friends even though the Vice principal had laid it on pretty heavy.

    It slowly began to sink into our thick skulls that there was something else at play here and not just tardiness. What could it be?

    The vice principal had his suspicions for a while. Dan was being harassed by kids on his way to school. By coming ten or fifteen minutes late Dan avoided his tormenters.  By having to stay after school he again missed his tormenters.

   So it was finally agreed that Dan would be excused for coming late. He was given some chores to do after school. Dan was satisfied with this arrangement and so were we. We lost the truancy battle but saved ourselves from failing over and over again.

    Are you someone who has to be somewhere 15 minutes before or are you somebody who crawls in just after something starts?

46 comments:

  1. A good solution to that particular situation.

    I tend to turn up on time. I recall my mother telling stories about my grandfather's working days in Holland before immigration- he'd be walking in just on time, and the others at the gate having a smoke break would know it was time to get in.

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  2. wow. what a great set of educators you were to figure out what was happening and give him a way to manage it.

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    1. Sometimes you win. However most kids just come and get the job done.

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  3. Great story. A good example of why there should not be mandatory punishment. One size does not fit all.
    I prefer to show up just on time.

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    1. As a retired you know you he to have a lot of different tools in the tool kit.

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  4. I try to leave on time which gives me about five minutes to spare..sometimes I wait in the car for my husband. WE discuss all departures before they happen so we are both on the same page. AIS means you know what in seat:)

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    1. I try to make it easy for my wife but she still can be late.

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  5. I prefer to show up early. I don't like being late. Everyone turns and looks. Hubby on the other hand, late! Then we have to drive like wild people!
    Cheri

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  6. That's a fine response by the school.

    I'm usually just about on time.. give or take a couple of minutes. I have one cousin who is always too early (half hour or so), and one who is habitually late. So when there are family events, Cousin #1 is told that the 1pm lunch is at 1:30 and Cousin #2 will be told 12:30. It usually works out.

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    1. I like the family strategy to get people to show up at one time.

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  7. I must admit that I have to be on time to anything, and so always try to arrive a little early. Amanda, now that's another story. Always late, just like your wife.

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    1. Why can't we ever get things to coincide. You'd think after many years there would be some compromise.

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  8. In a way a sad story that the boy was harrased by other kids. It is an issue here too nowadays. A child should enjoy its schooltime and not have fear.

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    1. Some kids are just marks and get picked on. It's sad that they can't be left in peace.

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  9. I am on time person, mostly 10 - 15 min early for anything. Sounds to me like your wife is from Newfoundland. I have a very dear friend who is late for everything - she married a Newfoundlander, so now she says she is arriving by Newfie time. ha,ha. Nice solution to the problem at school - Dan probably respected the persons that allowed his special predicament and probably remembers that today. Do you ever run into past students Red. I ran into my History Teacher not too long before he passed away. He remembered me after all those years. Made my day, because I was going to marry him when I grew up :)

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    1. I would have guessed you were an early person. I can understand a Newfoundlanders outlook on time. the sea doesn't allow regular hours. I live in the same district I taught in so I quite often see former students. I've been on boards with some of them.

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  10. Replies
    1. I'm with you. I just have to be early.

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  11. I agree with Linda above - one size does NOT fit all when it comes to punishments.

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    1. You can make a lot of mileage by fitting punishment to crimes and people.

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  12. Good story. That was a great solution!

    I am very punctual. And I almost always show up at least 10 minutes earlier.

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    1. I think ten minutes early is a very suitable time to show up.

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  13. I agree with Linda and Tex: you were exceptional educators who figured out a problem and fixed it. And I am also an early person, usually five to ten minutes early. I can't help it. :-)

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    1. Sometimes we get it right. Most of the time we don't have to do anything. I could have guessed you were an early person.

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  14. David and I are always on time, but tend to be early than late. I hate people who show up late especially if I am on time. Lol.

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    1. Thanks for visiting Hiawatha House. It's nice that both of you are on the same page.

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  15. I like to be on time, but I also like the way the story turned out with Dan. Usually there is a reason for things if folks will spend the time and effort to figure out what it is.

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    1. In this case , he wasn't going to admit that kids were teasing him.

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  16. Life is complicated. We have to keep reminding ourselves of that instead of writing off problem children.

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    1. We can't write them of but Dan has been lost all his adult life. As a 45 year old he still needs guidance and support from Dad.

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  17. What a wonderful way to handle Dan's plight. Kudos to all who were involved in that very kind decision. I am one of those people who would rather be early than late.

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    1. Sometimes we get things right. Dan was a special case.

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  18. An interesting solution. My solution to being bullied was convincing big kids that I was an easy projectile bleeder.

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  19. I'm one of those who'd rather be a few minutes early, rather than late!

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  20. Hey, I am with you! If I can't get there on time or even a little early, I don't go at all. Usually I get ready to go somewhere too early and then get bored waiting.

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  21. I'm the early bird married to the habitually-late guy. The lateness has driven me nuts for our entire relationship, but I have learned to pick my battles. If something is really important, I either have a stern talk with him beforehand, or just lie about when we are supposed to get there. He has enough good qualities that I can live with this annoying habit of his! But I think it's rude to be late, particularly habitually late!

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  22. That would be us too. My hubby and I.

    Your first paragraph. I am with you.

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  23. Another early bird here.
    I just love your solution for Dan, and your school's caring commitment to finding the real problem.

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  24. We tend to get to places right on time. Art is especially punctual to the minute.

    As educators, you guys were right on target. How wonderful that you got to the problem and solved it perfectly. It would have been nice to catch the bullies too.

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  25. Sounds like a very understanding and pragmatic approach. My parents, my brother and I are early or punctual to the point almost of obsession. My brother married a lady who, apart from professionally, is incapable of being on time. People are strange creatures.

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  26. I agree with Linda - one punishment does not fit all. I prefer to be at least a few minutes early and if I'm going to be late and have to walk in I'd just as soon not go.

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