Friday, January 28, 2011

Social Butterflies

Yesterday Kulani took a call from Lissy’s teacher telling him that Lissy was talking too much in class.

We were a little surprised by the call. Talking in school is something kids do, isn’t it? Sticking tacks on the teacher’s chair, fooling around in the bathroom with lighted firecrackers, bringing exotic pets to school: these are unusual. Talking too much in school with your classmates? That’s the American way, or maybe you haven’t heard about a little program called Facebook?

Of course, we outwardly backed the teacher and when Lissy got home, we told her to mind her teacher and to not do it again or there’d be consequences. Luckily, Lissy was already shook up enough over it. She was crying, and we could tell she felt bad—whether she was crying solely because she was getting scolded or whether she was crying out of sincere sorrow for disrupting the class didn’t matter to us. We just wanted her to not want to do it again. Another of our children, Nono, would probably be like, “Yeah, so what? I was talking. Deal with it.”

Kulani and I were both social butterflies growing up. For me, it was an extension of being the middle child of a large family. There was always someone to talk to at home or at school.

I used to tell my best friend Keri, who was the last one in her family, and whose next older sibling was five years older than her, that it must be so great to be her. When she came home from school, she didn’t have to deal with noise and chaos and craziness.

But then I was able to experience her life for a short weekend when my parents left for a trip with all my younger siblings when I was a senior in high school. (No, I did not recreate the scene from 16 Candles, mostly because I didn’t think of it at the time, and I wasn’t sure anyone would come to my impromptu party, sniff.) I was alone in the house. It was approximately 15 minutes before I was calling Keri and asking if she’d like to come over and hang out.

“I thought you said it would be cool to have the whole house to yourself,” she asked when I called her up.

“Oh, yeah, but you know, I just thought it would be fun to hang out.” She totally saw right through me. She was right. I couldn’t even stand being by myself for 15 minutes. Looking back, I think that was honestly the first time in my life, at age 17, that I’d been completely by myself for longer than an hour.

It’s true you can’t go back, and that’s a really good thing. If I had to do elementary school all over again as the person I am now, a teacher’s stern warning wouldn’t get me to stop talking to my classmates.

Call my parents? You call my parents, teacher. I’m finishing this riveting discussion with Mary Beth about what she saw on the playground during recess.

And that is why Facebook is like crack-cocaine to a person like me. Looks like Lissy might struggle with it too when she gets older. I hope she friends me and we can talk about it.


Anonymous said...

OK, seriously, are teachers way intense these days? Jonah gets in trouble for "gazing." Like, disciplinary trouble--not just a reminder. What the what?! Does everyone just need to sit back and remember when they were in 2nd grade for just a sec. Sheesh. Poor kids.

Clearly, I would have been right there listening to Mary Beth with you.

Amo said...

Cindy, oh how I long for the days when the teacher calls only for talking. Nate got to take the call from the principal letting us know he was suspending Ty (who is in KINDERGARTEN) for hitting a girl in the face with his backpack and giving her a bloody nose. Now we get calls from his teacher letting us know he refuses to do anything, constantly misbehaves and distracts all the kids around him. Be glad it is just talking in class!

MarySquare said...

I was a talker too, a master talker -- as is my Minnie. Very much takes after the Christensons. I remember I always got an "unsatisfactory" in conduct because I always talked to much.