Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Time to Face the Music

Well, we did it.  #6 went in to see the band teacher today.

We got there before school was out.  #4 has band last period, so #5, 6, 7 and I all stood out in the hallway and listened to them practice.  #5 told me, as he heard the choir also practicing down the hall that he didn't want to do that, he wanted to play in the band, and he wants to play the clarinet.  Fun times ahead!

The teacher finished interacting with his students and then took #6 back to his office.  At first, I stood in the doorway as I watched as the little boy sat in this big chair solemnly looking at the man across from him.

The teacher handled it like a pro.  It was a very serious conversation.  He asked #6 if he'd ever taken a long time to make something and asked him how he felt about something he'd spent so much time on.  He told him that making a trumpet is like that and how sad it is that he would take it and treat it as he did.

#6 and I had practiced the conversation this afternoon at home before we left for the school.  I have to say, I pegged the teacher's demeanor.  The one time I had to step in was when I, acting as teacher, asked him what had happened, #6 told me he had "accidentally" dropped the trumpet out the window.  I jumped in and told him it wasn't an accident, but he'd done it on purpose.  Each time we practiced, this same correction was made, so I was interested to see just what he'd say in real life.  I know he understood the concept, but darn it, doesn't "accidentally" make things seem so much nicer?

When it came down to it, it was WORSE in real life.  He didn't use "accidentally," and he didn't use "dropped."  He told him he'd "thrown it out the window" because he was angry.  Ugh!  Okay, there's honesty, but then there's going overboard.  Clearly, he hadn't "thrown" it because if he had, it would have been a WHOLE LOT worse than it was.

Here's the thing with #6, though.  He gets angry, and when he gets angry, anything goes.  He doesn't think, he just acts.  It's kind of scary.  We've tried so many things to get this under control, and I think it's improved a bit, but honestly, I'm not sure where to go with this one.  I'm not sure this won't happen again.  I hope that as he matures, this will subside, but for now, we're doing all we can think of to help him mellow a bit.

We agreed that #6 would work and now has eight months to earn the money for a trumpet.  Not sure how that's going to work, but we'll get a chart or a jar or something so he can keep track of what he has left to earn.  So much for the messes the dog leaves behind in our backyard, huh?  I've got to come up with some really good jobs for him.  I will say one thing, though, he was very cooperative after this experience, and continued to be so until bed time.  Anything I asked him to do, he did it without question or complaint, and he wasn't even being paid for any of it.  Could it be that a little boy grew up just a little bit more today?

After they spoke, the band teacher asked #6 to step out for a few minutes and asked me to come in so he and I could talk over the logistics.  As he started to walk out the door, I told him that, until he's playing one himself, he's not allowed to touch anyone else's instrument.

#6 walked out, I walked in and shut the door.

First thing the teacher said..."How was that?"

I told him it was perfect.  #6, who has the most amazing poker face I've ever seen was nearly in tears as he walked out.  I think he got the message.  The band teacher was very matter of fact and directed the conversation, but he made it just that, a conversation.  He asked questions and let #6 answer them.  "What are you going to do about this?" etc.  Wonderful!

He told me that he can fix the trumpet.  One thing I learned about him through this experience (and I learned it through one of the music stores we visited) is that he worked at a repair shop while he was in college.  He said he has another trumpet with that part in great condition that he can just replace this one with.  He told me it would cost him nothing to do so, so not to worry about it.  In the meantime, he sent #4 home with another loaner trumpet.

There's no way we're just going to walk away from this and let things go scot free, but truly, what a nice guy to be willing to deal with us in such a kind manner.  I'm so grateful this turned out so positive in so many ways.

3 comments:

vaxhacker said...

We have a #6 in our house too. We ought to talk and compare notes sometime.

A wonderful resolution to the problem, though! Huzzah.

P4 said...

Students at school say "accidentally" for everything! Drives me crazy. They think it makes everything okay. "I accidentally punched him in the face." "I accidentally blew their papers on the floor." "I accidentally didn't do any of my work." I wish they all had parents like you!

Diane said...

I am going to take a page from your book. I love the way you handled every part of this.

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