Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light and the Elusive Blue Light

Measuring your child’s behavior by a visual system has been the norm in most kindergarten classes. Be it a point system or above and below behavior, what ever works. For Lil’ Boy it is lights. You can imagine which behavior is which light. Yes , red is not so good behavior, green is great behavior and like the K blue light is for those special moments.

We wait for Lil’ boy to come in the house to tell us what light he stayed on or landed on. Sometimes the light he left school on is a reflection on how the rest of our day will go. A touchstone. It is our hope that he will come in and say “green light.” High fives and good jobs follow. All is right with the world.

Now really we would love to hear Lil’ Boy say “Blue Light.” But that light seems to escape him. I still am scratching my head over how Lil’ Boy will be able to capture that goal. Something seems to stand in his way. I would love to see the look on his face though when that light turns blue.

In the past two weeks though the tides have turned for the worse. Coming way to far up on his lil’ shore. Lil’ Boy has come home more then we care with a red light and the sordid story of how he got there. Most of the time the story is half told or a complete fabrication. Often I get dizzy at the circles he draws with his misbehavior. A quick e-mail to the teacher sorts it out, but it doesn’t cure the frustration, or the “What is this kids thinking.”

I am not one to make excuses for him, although I can pinpoint that most of his red light coordinate with a restless night or a night were he was up to late. But Lil’ boy still has to behave. I know this.

Here is the thing though I wonder if all this pressure to be good is actually good for kids.

There is a lot of pressure on what behavior is acceptable. I walk into school and am sometimes overwhelmed at the “Behavior” posters. “Act Nice.” ” Don’t Bully.” “Treat People Nice.” “Be Kind.” It is almost nauseating all the bright colors. All the different characters. Every wall. 10 deep. Telling the young impressionable minds how to be.

It’s not just posters on the wall, everyday a new circular comes home. Seriously after seeing the fifth “Don’t tattle” instruction sheet I threw it away without a word. Yeah I get it don’t tattle. Something tells me though no matter how many of these sheets and papers these kids do they will still tattle. You deal with it. You correct and move on. Will destroying rain forests with endless papers really help? Will constantly reminding them not to tattle when they are not tattling really help?

So moms how much is too much. Is all this emphasis on behavior good or is it too much? Do all these posters and papers really do anything? What is the best medicine for bad behavior?

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