Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Are You A Tootler?

   Have I mentioned that I love my job? What other job lets you to literally touch the future? Where else do you get to read some  great books that you miss as a grown up? And let’s not forget recess, yeah, let’s hear it for recess. When was the last time you hit the playground? Eight year olds are fun to hang out with. My kids work hard and know how to have fun and they like my music! How cool is that? There are trade offs though.

    You know the stocks the Puritans used? I’d bet you a dime and a smile that an eight year old came up with them.  Eight year olds have a very black and white sense of justice which translates into a whole lot of tattling.  They would sell their mother down the river and not blink an eye doing it.  I want to support their developing morality and be a model of that for them but mostly though I want the tattling to just stop ‘cause it is driving me bonkers! That’s the honest truth of it. 

  Now, I have a few tricks up my teacher sleeve; exaggerated reactions, “NO! How dare they cut in line, 50 lashes with a wet noodle!”  That’s not working. Neither is having them write it down in the I’ve Got a Problem Book. They simply bring the book to me to support the tattle. I’ve talked to them. The counselor’s talked to them. I’ve tried making up a little song “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? If they answer is no then just shut up!”  They like the song. They have hand motions to the song. They’re still tattling.

   I must of have looked a little wild eyed at recess this afternoon because one of the first grade teachers asked me if I was alright.  I shared my tale of woe accompanied by an appropriate amount gnashing of teeth and pulling at hair. Valerie patted me on the back and told me that they were going through the same thing and their rule is that for every tattle you tell you have to tell a tootle about the person.  Then she explained that a tootle was something nice that you noticed about the person.

  Grown ups don’t tattle exactly but we do complain about each other an awful lot. Shoot, most of reality television is based on complaining to each other about each other.  That sounds like tattling to me.  Starting first thing tomorrow my young scholars are getting a new rule, you must give a tootle for every tattle you tell. Jersey Shore would never be the same if they had to follow that rule; neither would some of my conversations.  I have to confess that I’ve been doing my fair share of tattling lately. Starting tomorrow for every tattle I tell I will also tell a tootle,feel free to hold me to it.

   My friend Lee Ann almost never tattles. She lives by one rule and hers is not” Never trust someone you can’t get drunk with.”  Her rule is “I choose to believe…..”  She makes a conscious and deliberate decision to choose a tootle over a tattle for the sake of her peace of mind and happiness.  It’s a choice; most things are when you come right down to it.  So, what’s it gonna be? Are you a tootler or a tattler? It’s either fear or love baby. 


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