Life's interesting, isn't it?
Just when you think that all's as it should be, something happens to make you take a step back, and take a good hard look at people, and the reasons why they act the way they do and do the things that they do.
I often find it difficult to explain to my kids that it's okay to not achieve their goals, or make an error of judgement. This society in which we live is very goal/achievement driven. Not always justifiably, in my experience. But I find it hardest to explain to my kids that adults often make mistakes too, and that they need to be given respect and consideration regardless. Deferring to an adult's "better" judgement was the way I was taught to think, and this has been a value/behaviour that I have endeavoured to instill in my progeny.
But lately I have been given pause to think long and hard about this.
VB related this incident a couple of weeks ago.
VB was in an unsupervised class at school, and a passing teacher, the head of the English department, instructed the class to be quiet. On passing again, she observed VB to be standing up in the room, talking. He is no angel, my son. She asked him what he was doing, to which he replied (honestly); "talking". He said she looked him up and town, and said to him ;
"You're a Kavanagh, aren't you?".... Before he could reply, he is certain that she made the comment ;
Understandably, he was taken aback, and upset by this. He reported this to his year advisor, whom I telephoned the next day, and it was decided that a meeting would be organised between the teacher in question, the advisor, VB and me. I waited for the phone call advising me of the time. Two days later, I received a SMS from Scorpaboy, telling me that he was outside a classroom and he could hear raised voices. Voices of VB, the English teacher in question, and the teacher that was absent on the day of the event. No year advisor, no parent. I am very unhappy that a 12 year old boy can be bullied and manipulated by two adults in this manner, with no real recourse. The teacher was extremely affronted that VB would accuse her of such a thing, and why would he do that; he doesn't even know her........
She's right; he doesn't know her. He has no reason to make up such a claim. He has nothing to gain, and everything to lose. I am concerned that he will have to watch his back with this black widow for the next five years. She is known for her irrational behaviour. I don't give a fig if she is menopausal. If she can't behave in a professional manner, then it's time she retired. She is supposed to be the adult, in a position of trust. Which she has abused.
I am concerned that VB's belief that he can trust an older, more respected person has been shattered. He needs to have faith in the goodness of others. This woman has never taught any of my children. And she never will. My "Rotten" children have had fairly high profiles at the high school; Scorpaboy is Year 11 prefect this year after 4 years on the SRC, and GG was School Vice Captain last year. They must come from a "rotten family"...................
Even if she said it as a throw-away line or joke, she had no cause to treat VB the way she did.
I have to follow up on this one.....................
This afternoon was another surprise.
As part of his Retail Studies course for his HSC, Scorpaboy (SBoy) has to work in a retail store for 5 days. He has been working in the local IGA/Thriftylink hardware store for just over a year now. He thought it would be a good idea to go somewhere else to see things from a different aspect. There's not a lot of choice in our little town, so he chose to work in the local convenience store, "Double G's", which has the word "supermarket" in it's name. It's a lot smaller that the shop that SBoy works in 2 afternoons after school, and on Saturday mornings. The people at "Double G's" have even worked around his hours at the supermarket. But today, the boss at the supermarket phoned SBoy and told him to come in to see him at work. Which he did. Just the two of them in his office. SBoy had no idea what was going on. The manager told SBoy that "he (SBoy) had made an error of judgement, and that he was very disappointed at SBoy's total lack of loyalty to the company". Also, "he had no right going to work for the opposition, and that he (SBoy) had kicked him and his wife in the guts, and that he was going to have to let him go..." At this point, a very shocked Sboy, left the office with a muttered "Whatever...", in tears. And he SMS'd me. You can't expect a 16yr old to have the presence of mind to deal with this type of situation rationally. And he has been taught to respect his boss........
He came to see me at work, and we approached his (now ex) employers together. This time it was only his wife. Who repeated the thoughts of how disappointed they were in him; how he had hurt them. After all they had done for him. Taught him all about hardware, and worked around his desires for time off for his biking. And he knew that they were short of staff at the moment, so how dare he go and work somewhere else when they needed him. He could have worked at any other store in town, but he went to their rival.... They were concerned at how the town would view it that he chose to go somewhere else for his work placement. yada, yada, yada.........
As a courtesy, maybe he should have informed them of his plans, but it really had nothing to do with them and has not affected his performance at work for them. And if they're short of staff, why is it his responsibilty to work for them when they should have replaced the sick staff? He would have been at school under normal circumstances anyway. There is so much more that could be said. Finally, she said "it is a conflict of interests...... he has access to tills and pricing in both places...".
After this rather lame argument, we left...... I advised them to think whether all this fuss was really necessary. And that the discussion was going nowhere. I left it up to them to contact us. I was unfailingly polite.
SBoy is not allowed to accept any form of payment for his services.
There are only 5 days of work placement. Then life is back to normal, except Sboy needs to find a new part-time job, and IGA is now short of yet another staff member. In a small town such as ours, businesses need to work together, not stab each other in the back. And "Double G's" is so small, with very loyal staff, that they won't need Sboy's services. IGA, on the otherhand, has replaced it's entire staff over the past year. A few times. Actually, Sboy was the longest-serving member of staff until today. This says a lot, doesn't it?
And in regard to Sboy's requests for time off, we have made sure that rides are organised after work, which means that Beloved will often drive for 6hours after work on a Saturday. And he has had a couple of days off during the school holidays, based around staff availabilities....
Who's helping who out here?
The manager's handling of this was wrong, on so many levels. Again, there is the handling of a sensitive issue regarding a minor with no non-involved third party present. How is a 16yr old supposed to handle themself in a situation such as this? No experience, and no aggressive, self-protective attitude. And he's supposed to have loyalty towards people who would ask him to work for them, full-time for a week, for free, and more than likely cut his usual part-time hours because he had already completed the necessary day's work? To help them out?
I think that they should be more concerned about their reputation when the word gets out that they sacked a well-liked 16yr old for doing what his school curriculum compelled him to. And news such as this will spread like wildfire. Their reputation in town is already a little tarnished. They don't call him "Rip-Off Rick" for nothing.
I contacted the school this afternoon, but I have taken no action so far. A letter will be generated and relayed at my say-so. But SBoy doesn't want to go back there to work, and who can blame him? I am also going to contact the Workplace Affairs Office, or whoever. There must be illegalities in the way that this was done. Sboy was dismissed unfairly, and must have some recourse. The problem are those little words; "Casual Employee"
And "Rip-Off Rick" must be made accountable for his actions. As will the Black Widow.
My children's respect and trust in "grown-ups" is reliant upon this.
And it is my job as their mother to make sure that everything possible is done to restore it.
How can we expect children to be accountable for their actions if adults are not?
And respect, like trust, has to be earned.
Growing up is hard...........
And some people go out of their way to make it so.....................
Thank you for listening.
The Blogmuggle ;0(