The text from Boy One's teacher read, "Hi...hope you are feeling better...just wanted to let you know that [boy one] smacked [another little boy in his class] in the stomach as [he] was leaving the table at pick up for no reason that I could tell and neither [Boy One] nor [the other kid] could tell me why...."
Clearly, I have completely failed as a parent. My son will never learn how to read, and he'll be arrested for assault before he hits third grade. Life has officially ended.
In response, I set forth to remind Boy One that never, under any circumstances, do we use our bodies to express our anger. Everyone gets mad sometimes, but no one gets to punch people in the stomach, even if they really, REALLY, want to.
Ray: Why did you hit him?
B1: Because he said, "Ha, ha. You're the worst person on the planet."
Ray: Why do you think he said that?
B1: I don't know.
Ray: Did you do something mean to him first?
Ray: Are you sure?
B1: Yes, I am sure.
Clearly, this line of questioning was not going very well. Next step? The dreaded "I am sorry letter."
This is the second such letter Boy One has had to write to this particular small person, so this time I had to up the ante. No, I will not take dictation. No, you can't just talk into my phone and have it type for you. You have to write the note ALL BY YOURSELF.
Writing letters is a difficult task for new writers. There are all kinds of funny rules about punctuation, spacing, and formal or informal salutations. For this particular epistle, half measures simply would not do. My reputation as a parent and English teacher are on the line here. Obviously, his letter needs to be perfect. Otherwise, there will clearly be Armageddon. Obviously.
Perfection did not arrive, but a hand-written and illustrated card was produced. Did he learn his lesson? Probably not. Will he hit someone else someday? Probably. Over time, will he realize that all people deserve respect? I really hope so. May it be so.