Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Community Service Meets the Teen
Report cards came Friday afternoon. So after spending most of Friday evening "discussing" the importance of doing school work and not spending so much time with video/myspace involvement with my two boys, we decided (meaning I came up with the idea and they silently disagreed) they needed to do more community service. Christopher is still trying to come up with what he wants to do; Philip opted to be a volunteer waiter at a veterans' pre holiday luncheon. He thought it would be a quick and easy way to salvage his weekend plans.
Of course first I had to explain to him the importance of veterans, how his grandfathers and uncles and cousins had all served in various wars. He gave me the "OMG, will she ever stop look," then went off to what he thought, I think, would be a pizza party.
I should say here that Philip is a really sensory kid: he has trouble looking at the "subnormal" folk who frequent certain Walmarts, and any shows involving childbirth or poxes or deformity cause him to lurch from the television. He was the kind of baby who couldn't stand seams in his socks or the touch of wool. Very little has changed in that department over the years.
Ten minutes into the holiday luncheon, I get this text:
MOM SAY I'M SICK COME PICK ME UP FROM HERE
I had his brother calmly text back:
MOM SAYS U HAVE 2 STICK IT OUT
The next SOS came:
I HAVE A BAD HEADAKE
I didn't anwer; I figured I'd tell him the veterans had to stick it out once, too.
When I picked him up, he was flushed and exhausted.
"They're like old pirates," he said, "Oh my God. You have no idea. No idea."
"What happened?" I asked.
"First of all, most of them were missing something. Like an arm or something."
"Right. They were in a war."
Sigh. "And every time I asked them what they wanted to drink, they said, 'how 'bout a Scotch and soda?' Like every one of them and they laughed each time. And they only had soda or water or coffee."
"Then this guy says to me, 'Son, straighten that flag."
"What did you do?"
"I straightened the flag. Then he says, 'Now set me up with those sausages just like you would your best girlfriend.' So I go, What does THAT mean?"
"I think he wanted something extra, right?"
"He winked at me. God. And he had this scooter thing."
"Your sister loves her scooter. What's wrong with that?"
"No, Mom, he had this scooter thing INSTEAD OF LEGS."
He didn't say much after that. I pretty much left him alone and let him spend a few hours cruising myspace.
I think serving that lunch allowed him to learn a whole lot more a whole lot faster than anything he does in school.