“I can’t be late to school, Mama,” Joseph told me as I was rushing to get out the door and go to work.
“You won’t be, baby,” I answered, distracted.
“Do you know what happens when I’m late for school?”
“What’s that?” I asked while finishing applying my make up.
“My stick gets moved to the red train.”
“Wait,” I paused and turned to look at him. “Do you mean you get in trouble at school if you’re late even though you’re just a little boy and you can’t help it if your Mommy or Daddy’s late dropping you off?”
“So,” I tried to sort this out, “even though you can’t drive and you have no control over whether or not your parents get you to school on time, your stick gets moved to the red train? Shouldn’t the parent’s stick be moved to the red train?”
“Parents don’t have sticks,” he giggled.
“True. But it doesn’t seem fair.”
“Well,” Joseph said thoughtfully, “if the parents are the ones who make the kid late, they’ll probably get in trouble from Mr. Smith, the principal.”
“That makes more sense,” I agreed.
“And probably the President of the United States.”
Joseph nodded wisely, “Being late is very serious. I think you’d get in trouble by the President of the United States.”
“Then by all means! Let’s be on time!”
Does your child’s school penalize the child for parental tardiness?