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Thursday, January 31, 2019

purple plusses...instant reds...

In Little Leighton’s (aka LL aka Biscuit) kindergarten class, there is a reward/punishment system this almost-65-year-old Grammy finds interesting. Fascinating. Confusing. (And it’s the entire kindergarten that uses this. Maybe the entire school—which goes up through 3rd grade.)

Each new day, a student starts out with a green stick. All throughout the day, said student can be rewarded with another stick of 5 other colors or disciplined with another color. 

The color order for the sticks (from best down to worst behavior) is this:

Purple (and, recently Purple Plus—which I think means they may have received more than one purple stick); Blue; Green; Orange; Yellow; and Red. There is the “red” a student slowly (or not-so-slowly) regresses down to or—can digress to in a fairly fast manner. 

(You and I totally get it: The purpose is to inspire/encourage all students to strive to achieve that Purple Plus Stick Status. TLC’s Purple Plus Sticks? Shopping at Nordstrom or Anthropologie. Sigh. Mine? A red velvet cupcake. Two of them! YES!)

So Biscuit explained to Grammy that someone could have a purple stick in their jar—but if they do something “really bad”—they can go to (insert tres scary music here...):

INSTANT RED. (Psycho soundtrack/shower scene might be appropriate at this point.)

I have sooo many thoughts and opinions on this system. 

My first reaction when learning about it was this: 

HOW IN THE WORLD does a teacher get anything done in a day??? When she (or he) is messing with 22 kids’ sticks going up and down. In and out. All. Day. Long. God bless them ANYWAY! Just for choosing such a challenging profession many of us could NEVER handle. 

Then I thought about all of the kids that probably stay below green most of their days. Kids that really NEED some Purple Stick Days! Because, seriously, I’d welcome more Purple Stick Days in my old life!

One day not too long ago, Baby Belle (aka Belle) was staying with us for a few hours. She heard me complaining to My Sweet Hubby (aka MSH aka Pa-Pa) that he kept forgetting to put something up for me on a high shelf. Belle looked at me with a quiet sternness and said:

“Grammy, Pa-Pa needs an Instant Red!” (This wisdom from My Angel Princess that goes to the Timeout Chair at least once a day. Picture me getting a little tear trickling out of my eye.)

I giggled and replied:

“Baby Elle, you are exactly right!”

Since then, Pa-Pa gets an Instant Red almost every time Belle is with us. Luckily, MSH loves the concept of fair/kind discipline. He is probably the most self-disciplined person I’ve ever known. He accepts his Instant Red with humility and a smile. 

Since no one has asked this old gal what she thinks of that system, I can only assume the powers that be consider it effective. It’s certainly not up to me to judge its validity. 

However...Here comes a thought or two (You knew you couldn’t escape this.):

When I was growing up in the American public school systems, our reward/discipline system basically boiled down to this:

BEHAVE at school. There were paddles in your future if you didn’t. NOT WHAT I WOULD EVER EVER EVER agree with. Paddling. Spanking. Not then. Not now. But they were there. When you heard someone getting a paddle? Not something you forgot the rest of the day. Or week. IF you did NOT behave at school? And your parents found out? It was dealt with at home, too. 

I must say that given these two choices? And as a retired counselor that worked with many troubled kids? I vote for Biscuit’s School’s System. I do. (I still worry the teachers have literally no time to ever sleep more than 3 hours a night. Sheesh.)

Biscuit has many MANY Purple Stick Days. TLC and I learned in the first 2-3 weeks to not ask her what color her stick was at the end of the day. She (like her Mama) puts alot of pressure on herself to achieve perfection. She doesn’t need to think we don’t have faith that she did the best she could all day. (And, all TLC has to do is look in the folder that LL brings home ever day. Somehow her Amazing Teacher has filled out each student’s “Stick Status” at the end of the day. With all they have to do, how is this even possible???)

As January comes to a close, I wish All of Y’all a new month of many Purple Stick Days! If you have a few Red Stick Days? Or get some Instant Reds? Hey, we’re going to love you anyway. (After all, February is the month of LOVE, right?)

Hugs and Smooches, Friends...

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