Today Sam came home from school and told me that a little girl in his class was bad and she was sent to the office because of this. I paused to make sure that I heard him correctly as he's in kindergarten, and the thought of being sent to the office at that age always startles me. Anyway, sure enough this little girl was sent to the office because she was "bad."
This made me pause to listen closely to him. We have always been very clear that we make choices in our behavior and that we are personally responsible for those choices - good or bad. We have also made very clear that everyone has the same choices to make, and that everyone falters at times and make bad choices - kids and grown-ups alike. But the one thing that we hit on continually is the idea of choice. I'm not sure, especially after the conversation I had with Sam, that he know that there's a difference between someone making bad choices and someone being bad. I know, it's splitting hairs linguistically, but it is important for the kids to know that even if someone is acting out it doesn't make him or her a bad person. This little girl was not bad, she was behaving badly.
So, after explaining this to him in terms that he totally gets (You know, the other day when you lost electronic privileges? That was you making a bad choice. But you are not a bad person because of it.) - he got it (and so did Ian). Max knows the difference - he spits our exact verbiage back at us at times and grins like a fool when he does. And if they catch up doing something that we aren't supposed to do (ask Tom about how his plate spinning is going these days) they nail us every time about our bad choice. So, funny how it came up (and startling to know that the music teacher sent more than one kids out today for not participating) but nice to have that moment to teach this lesson. It's life in the making and I certainly like the way these kids are turning out.