Pomp and Circumstance

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The other day, Kate came home from school devastated.

“What happened, honey?”

“I don’t want to talk about it!”

Three minutes later…

“When we were lining up to go home, some kids were being rude, so I pushed one of them. They told on me and the teacher sent me to the back of the line!!” she sobbed.

I still couldn’t see how this was the end of the world. “That happens to a lot of kids. It’s not a big deal. I’m sure your teacher has forgotten all about it by now.”

“But now I’m not the most well behaved kid in the class!”

Ah, the real problem. She was worried she had been dethroned. Ever since her first day of school, Kate has prided herself on being an excellent student. Strike that. The most excellent student. She likes her pencils sharp and her crayons in rainbow order. She likes to get stickers on her homework and she loves, loves, loves to raise her hand.

She likes school so much, in fact, she felt bad that Luke doesn’t get to go. So what else could she do but start “Kate’s Kindergarten” in the basement? She breaks out the puzzles, pencils and paper. She lays out a blanket and pillow for his nap time, and she even utilizes her school’s disciplinary system: she hands out pink slips for bad behavior (a visit to the principal’s office, i.e., me) and coveted blue slips that can be traded in for a treat at the end of the day. Sometimes, they watch “The Letter Factory” when her pupil gets restless.

Luke is like any other three year old boy. Sometimes he likes going to “Kate’s Kindergarten” and sometimes he stomps up the stairs 10 minutes after her first bell shouting, “You’re not my master!!”

But last Sunday at church, I noticed Kate and Luke were being particularly quiet during services. I looked down the pew to see the two of them huddled together over the same piece of paper. Kate had written down the entire alphabet, both upper and lower cases, and in hushed voices, she was quizzing him on what sound they make. For each one he got correct, she crossed it out. Last I saw, A-K all had slashes with 30 minutes left to go.

So Luke, in 20 years, when you’re marching up to the podium in your cap and gown, remember your big, summa cum laude sister and her ever devoted attention towards your education.

Teacher’s pets always do well.

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