I don’t recall being in trouble so much as a child. That was my little brother’s domain. My “trouble” was more internal in nature. I remember one time in sixth grade when I got a bad grade on a report card. There were extenuating circumstances that, in hindsight, were much more serious than anyone thought at the time, but it all worked out.
It was my social studies class and our teacher would have been a terrific high school teacher. But we were 12… Part of our grade was based on “current events.” We could choose each week between writing a paper about a current event, drawing a political cartoon, or standing in front of the class and reiterating a newspaper story. I wrote many papers and drew many cartoons, but was DREAADFULLY shy and didn’t do the speaking aloud.
About midway through the semester, the teacher informed me that I *HAD* to do a few newspaper articles aloud. I refused and she stopped accepting my papers and cartoons. I got As on tests, As on homework, As on everything except current events, where I got a C due to my refusal to stand in front of the class. My report card outlined- “C- Current Events-: A-Cartoons, A-Papers, F-Newspaper Articles.”
Our parents had to sign the report cards and so I easily penciled a line to the “F” to turn it into an “A.” My plan was to give it to Dad. He’d sign it and then before turning it back in, I’d erase the line.
But I didn’t count on Dad actually reading it…
Imagine my surprise when he looked it over and realized that all “A”s do not make a “C”. I completely didn’t count on that. I made some excuse up about how she just didn’t like me and in anger, he turned the report card over and ripped my teacher a new one for being arbitrary in her grading system. Only he didn’t use those words…
I carried the card to my room and pondered the quandary. I decided to cross out Dad’s note and write, “Nevermind.” Brilliant! She’d never know! (she did and called Dad). But I also decided that scheming and lying were not for me. My stomach hurt and I felt so terrible for deceiving my teacher and my family, and the stress wasn’t worth it. I self-imposed some punishments- no television, no sleepovers, and no telephone for a month. I also decided that a good punishment was to make myself do the newspaper articles in front of the class.
All that punishment was before I got caught. Once Dad knew, I had no punishment from outside. Just concern over why.
I forced by self to speak week after week and even was on the debate team in high school and have no issues with public speaking now. But oh boy was I shy back then!