Not In Trouble

My 8-year old stepped off the bus last week with a startling announcement: “I’m not in trouble, Daddy!”

Naturally, all my parenting alarms blared to life. Not only was my son announcing he wasn’t in trouble, but he was the first off the bus. That meant that he’d been sitting in the front seat, which is where the bus driver puts kids who get in trouble.

“You’re not?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “I’m not in trouble. I’m not!”

“Okay, kiddo,” I said, “tell me about why you’re not in trouble.”

As we walked home, he told me the whole thing. Two of the kids on the bus had been picking on two other kids, and my son’s friend tried to stick up for them. As so often happens, he (my son’s friend) was the one who got in trouble.

“So,” I said. “Where do you fit in to all this?”

“It wasn’t right that he got in trouble,” the big guy said. “He was doing the right thing. He shouldn’t have gotten in trouble.”

I nodded. “Okay, but how did you get in trouble?”

“I didn’t! I was in the front because I went with him.”

I stopped walking. “You went with him?”

“Yeah,” he said. “It wasn’t right that he got in trouble, so I went with him to the front seat. That’s why I was in the front seat.”

“So the bus driver yelled at your friend, and told him to sit in the front – and you went with him?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“Did she yell at you?”

“No,” he said. “She looked surprised.”

“Wow.”

“See?” he laughed. “I’m not in trouble.”

“Nope,” I said. “You’re not in trouble. In fact, I think you earned yourself a treat.”

I suppose I shouldn’t be encouraging him to defy authority, but I just couldn’t help myself.

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