Posted by The 'Gueru 

4-14-23 #5

Week to week I scroll through my mental rolodex to determine what I would like to discuss. This week, I share the story of my only detention experience as a child. I was in the sixth grade and thought it was a good idea to clown around in class this particular day to the degree I ended up getting detention. Immediately I was concerned as my parents were very creative in teaching lessons. I am not certain if my siblings share that thought, but that is how I would describe their parenting style related to my personality. I walked in the residence and explained to my mother that I had detention and explained why etc. My father was sitting at the kitchen table reading the bible as I explained my day. He looked up, smiled then continued reading. My mother said ok son. As I went upstairs to enter the room I share with four siblings, I began to process that entire interaction and became terrified as I knew that was entirely too easy. I enter the room still thinking what they could be planning. At age eleven my brain could not begin to understand what they had planned. The night was calm and quiet. There was nothing happening out of our normal nightly routine. The next morning I am anticipating the consequence and nothing. This  bothered me throughout the day. I could not focus on anything but my consequence and lesson to be learned. I will pause there to explain the detention dynamics. Detention ran from 2:30pm-4:15pm. There was no transportation for students who had to serve detention; therefore, I had to walk. At that time we lived in project housing on the south side of Harrisburg, so my walk was a few miles approximately. This was the very first time I had traveled by bike or foot that distance. I believe the walk took an hour or so. Back to detention. I was a smaller kid, so detention was a bit to digest initially, but I remembered my father always telling me to use my brain. That allowed me to be confident in the moment. There ended up being no issues with other kids in detention. It ended, and I began my walk home. I saw a few fist fights. An auto accident. A few kids being chased down the street by a store owner, all sorts of things. I get to the property on which we lived, and as I get closer to our place I begin to smell food. It was strange that I was able to identify the scents teasing my nose. This meant that it was my mother’s food I smelled. This excited me, so I got an extra boost of energy as I entered. Seven siblings and my parents were sitting at the table enjoying all of the foods I enjoyed. I become more excited asking my mother for my plate while looking in the oven. I would share what she made, but I am not at that place yet (smile). She looked at me with a look of surprise and said, dinner is over. I realized I was in my consequence. This one was different because I did not have to do anything, and I could still do everything I was always able to do. This was my first experience with natural consequences. With ten people in the home, it was understood to all at that moment to be present during dinner. In addition to the natural and intended lesson, it taught me to never presume I would know an outcome. Planning is good, but planning for the unexpected is better.

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