(Sorry about the auto-play on the video. I fixed that too. I know it’s annoying.)

I was a teacher long before I became a parent. In fact, I balked at parenthood for a long time at least partly BECAUSE I was a teacher: “Why don’t you have kids, Mr C?”¬† “I do. I have 150 of you every day.” Luckily, I was finally persuaded, and now I have a wonderful son. This was when he was four:

My boy is almost 10 now. In two years, he will most likely be in my class. I’m not sure how that’s going to play out. If you’re still reading this blog then, you’ll find out as I do. But I think I got a taste the other evening.

We were having dinner, and the boy was chewing with his mouth open, a definite no-no around Mom. She’s talked to him about it countless times – sorta like what we do all day every day, except about topic sentences and using paragraphs for God’s sake – and now she’d had enough. Last time, she had threatened to send him outside to eat with the dog if he continued to eat like one. So this time she sent him packing to the back yard. (Not to worry, it was 65 degrees and lovely.)

“Go outside and eat with Louie.”

“OK Momma.”

Hmmm that was a little too easy. Then I remembered that, for the past several days, he’s been hanging out and reading inside a large waterheater box in the back yard. He was just looking for an opportunity to take his dinner out there to the box and read Artemis Fowl for the fifth time, happily chewing as noisily as he wants. Mom thinks fast.

“While you’re out there, I want you to write a paragraph about why you were sent outside, and why it’s important to have good manners.”


(me) “And we need at least 35 words.”


Just like those old school “Consequence Forms” or “time out” forms I sometimes gave the kids…in the pre-Quiet Stick days. Classic!

Here’s what we got:

I was sent to the box because I wasn’t chewing with my mouth closed. It is important to have good manners so you don’t gross people out. It is also important because when you grow up you won’t look immature. All in all chewing with your mouth closed is very important in all areas of life.

Pitch perfect¬† attitude, and a classic 7th grade BS ending. Also notice the appeal of the box, much like the Cage. I’m a little worried. But at least I have video blackmail.

(PS: The hand doc gave the the OK!)