There will be no photograph accompanying this post because I don't want to tip the principal off to where the morally bankrupt are at the moment. No extra clues on my watch. I have my hands full with in-house detention and other various reform programs. My children--cheaters? How did this happen? Where did I go wrong?
It all started last week when a certain older girl child declared that yes, she knew my artist mom friend's son so-and-so because he had let her copy off his paper so she would be all caught up from what she missed earlier in the day. This followed by a cheerful confession from child number two who said he was able to finish his homework quickly because so-and-so the next door neighbor supplied all his (now correct) math answers. No amount of lecturing or friendly chatting up the virtues of doing your own work could convince either child otherwise.
It was faster.
It isn't a big deal.
I don't think my teacher would mind, Mom. Seriously.
This is the part where I deeply regret not taking them to Sunday School, where I imagine their future behind bars, where I decide that today, yes, today, we will have a conference with the teacher to find out what she really thinks about you copying someone else's work.
I grew up in a sleepy town where we attended private schools with serious religious training and even more hammering away at our (assumed) questionable ethics. Copying was considered cheating. Getting caught would send you to the principal's office, not to mention the shaming experience of having to call your parents. I was terrified of stray eyes--mine or someone else's--and religiously avoided any appearance of cheating. Is that so wrong?
I tell my kids these stories and all I see is goody-two shoes run across their not-so-innocent eyes. Am I old-fashioned? Is copying your neighbor's work the new norm? Inside I wonder if my primary vices--ignoring the speed limit and being blind to no parking signs--are the real culprits. Are my kids simply mirroring my own bad behavior in another form?
Tell me Supersisters. I need your full confession. Did you cheat in school and how would you react if you found out your lovely ten and seven year old were cheerfully copying other people's answers so that they could get out to recess five minutes quicker? How personally do you take it when you find out your kids are breaking the rules?
I'll be waiting here, ready to take notes with my number two pencil in hand.