I believe that somewhere, sometime, I mentioned that The Pony is not at all interested in helping people. We found that out when he registered to take his ACT, and completed the interest inventory. "Would you like to help someone injured in a tornado?" NO. So much for a career in the human services field.
A couple of weeks ago, there was an incident at Newmentia. One of our newbies, who had only been with us for several weeks, grew fractious. Came in with the opinion that it was perfectly permissible to toss out an F-bomb, take a nap, address me in terms of a nutritious frozen dinner that we'll call an Intelligent Single Unit, and proceed to fling items about like detritus caught in the swirling currents of a cartoon Tasmanian Devil.
I do not take such affronts personally. When, in the course of educational events, one of my charges engages in behavior I see about once per decade, I respond per policy. Though some might like to don the trucker caps of judge, jury, and executioner, I leave those duties to the ones who make the big bucks. A discipline notice with a detailed description serves my purpose. Over and done, let the chips fall where they may.
Anyone working in the halls of higher learning realizes that such behavior is simply the nature of the adolescent beast. They are grooming themselves for independence, challenging authority, preparing to make the break from parents and teachers. That's how kids grow up, so you're not strapping a 30-year-old into a car seat and wiping his butt after spoon-feeding him three meals a day.
The response from the eye-witnesses was encouraging. Ones who had originally seen this transfer from a more relaxed school setting as a breath of fresh air, a cool dude, drew the line at such antics. They first advised cessation of the drama, then refused to be a receptive audience. When the spirited scoff-rule removed himself from our paddock, and kicked-up his heels on the trail to the office corral, other members of the herd grew overly compliant. Supportive, even.
It came as no surprise that two hours later, the rumor mill had churned out a headline to rival one fit for the Weekly World News. After all, nobody is better at playing the game of telephone than teenagers. I chose to absorb the fuel from their fire, only answering direct questions with "Yes," "No," or "I can't discuss another student with you." Reports that my right leg was hacked off by a madman yielding a machete were greatly exaggerated.
After school, while grading papers, I looked up at The Pony typing on his laptop at the corner desk. "Hey, did you hear anything about my day?"
"Were you worried about me?"
"Seriously? Not even a little?"
"Well...you might say I was...anxious."
"When did you hear?"
"What did you hear?"
"That a kid hacked off your right leg with a machete."
"And you didn't even come check on me? You were right next door!"
"That's what CuteNFunny said. 'Pony! Don't you want to check on your mom?' And I said, 'Eh...not really.'"
"Well, I should have known. You really have no desire to help people. EVEN YOUR OWN MOM!"
"Hey, I tried to tell you that when I filled out my ACT interest inventory."
Yeah. No surprises there. It's a sad day when the kid I bandied words with all last year, making sure he knew, in no uncertain terms, that I did not fine his behavior cute-nor-funny, was more concerned about my well-being than my own son.
Perhaps it's his way of cutting the apron strings. Nah. It's just the nature of The Pony, making sure the world knows he's not a people person.