My boys have been working on cleaning their room. Well, I wouldn’t really say they’re working on it because working implies that there is some degree of progress being made. And there has been NO progress. Not in two days. That’s right, I told them that they would have no tv or video games until they cleaned their room. That was five days ago. Then I told them that they were going to stay in their room until it was clean (coming out for meals and bathroom breaks, of course). That was Monday evening. It is now Wednesday afternoon and they have made NO progress.
The next weapon in my arsenal was to threaten them with the items they love so dearly. I told them that if they didn’t start making some progress I would come in and begin to relieve them of some of the clutter myself. Beginning with the DVD player. And still they made NO progress.
Armed with a trash bag I stormed into their room to capture my next vicitim in this viscious and unconscionable battle. As I rounded the corner I found my two oldest boys, not cleaning (which I totally knew) but sitting on the bed reading. Now, a part of my mind (the really tiny rational part) thought “Well, at least they’re reading”. But the bitchy, I-told-you-to-do-something-and-you-better-get-it-done-now, part of my brain (the great big throbbing, swollen part) didn’t give a shit what they were doing because the fact is, they were told to get their room clean–not read a book!
And then I heard what The Oldest was reading out loud as The Middle leaned attentively over his shoulder. “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” That’s right. My kids were busy screwing around…reading The Bible.
So, what do I do? I’m kind of an asshole if I punish my kids for reading The Bible when there are so many more pressing issues for them to deal with, like locating the source of the smells wafting from their room. And, I’ve never been terribly involved in my religion (beyond having one and knowing what to do if I ever find myself in Mass with no viable exit strategy) but even I know that I can be subjected to some very bad karma if I mess with the good book. So, I decided to compromise. To make the punishment so miniscule that it would hardly matter, but would still matter a little to the people who have just turned my furious rampage into a slow steam. I grabbed a toy soldier, one of the Barbie-doll sized ones with articulating joints. Only this one has no lower legs and only one hand. And, he’s naked. And neutered. So he really had a lot going against him anyway. I’m pretty sure he’s an unfortunate victim of the Underground Escape Network . He either was injured trying to make a break for it, got caught up with the wrong group of escapees, or was captured by the wardens boys trying to escape and was hobbled. Either way, he was forced to make the sacrifice for the rest of the platoon–which, incidentally, is still laying in the mounds of crap on the bedroom floor of two kids who are working very hard at making NO progress.