Having the kids occasionally walk themselves the 700 meters home from school is all about giving them a chance to spread their wings and teaching them responsibility. Oh, and teamwork.
I had no idea having the kids walk home together would encourage them to work as a team. I confess, if I thought of it at all it was more the antithesis of teamwork – I pictured them arguing and fighting and therefore not paying attention to driveways and cars.
But I was wrong.
“I know I said they could walk home today,” Tracey told me, “but I couldn’t help it. I drove down.”
When I raised my eyebrows she explained.
“I waited and waited for them,” she told me, “until I got worried because they hadn’t shown up.”
This sounded fair enough. In fact, I’d have done the same.
“What time did you drive down?” I asked.
I’m guessing she was hoping I didn’t ask that question. “School had been out five minutes.”
I couldn’t run, let alone walk, 700 meters in five minutes. If I gave the first 200 meters a solid try out and attempted to sprint I wouldn’t even make it home – the ambulance would have taken me to hospital. Possibly to the morgue wing.
Tracey had the decency to sound contrite, but I suspect if we gave the kids permission to walk home tomorrow she’d be stalking them in the car again.
“I know!” she said to my still raised eyebrows, which were now threatening to merge with my hairline. “Sorry!”
“So how did the kids take your sudden appearance?” I wanted to know. If it had escalated since yesterday’s response there might have been blood.
“I drove past them and parked the car,” said my wife. “They didn’t acknowledge me at all, but suddenly the three of them were huddled together. Then they broke apart and started walking towards me.” She laughed. “But they didn’t stop when they got to the car. They kept staring at the pavement and marched determinedly past.”
See! Teamwork! I’m clocking this walking home caper up as a HUGE success.
“The only one who even acknowledged my existence was our son,” said Tracey.
I commented Master8 has always been a bit of a Mommy’s boy.
“Hardly!” said Tracey. “When they were twenty meters up the road he turned around and shook his fist at me.”
Ah well, at least she let them complete the walk home and didn’t demand they jump in the car. Maybe one day she’ll even let them do it without feeling the need to spy on them.
You know, when they’re at uni.
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