Confessions of an experienced dad

The ‘tutoring incident’ showed this dad columnist where his son gets his sense of humour

Riley Hunt. Photo Courtesy Chris Hunt

I am not a good parent. 

This is essential information required to fully appreciate the events leading up to and directly following what has become known around my house as the “Tutoring Incident.”

What makes me a bad parent is that I don’t know how to handle those little moments when my son does something blatantly wrong. Truth is, my kid has always been a ridiculously well-behaved kid, so I don’t have too much experience disciplining him.

Which brings me to the “Tutoring Incident.”

My son has regular tutoring after school. One day after tutoring, he and all of the other children are waiting outside with the teacher. When a teacher is waiting outside of the school with all of her charges, it’s a sure sign she’s in a rush.

I quickly grab my kid and we start walking home. A few moments later, a little girl from his class passes us and makes for a busy intersection near the school.
At this point the teacher pulls up in her car, parks it at the intersection and exits her vehicle. She walks over to the little girl, holds out her hand and says: “This street is far too busy to cross alone.”
The little girl shyly takes her hand and together they start to cross. This teacher, who moments before was so clearly in a rush, walked at a child’s pace. She paid no mind to the cars stopped at the intersection or the parents watching her. All that mattered was getting the little girl across the street.

It was a beautiful moment. As soon as the teacher’s foot hit the sidewalk my kid calls the little girl by name and shouts the following sentence loud enough for the entire block to hear:
“SARAH! Hey! How does it feel to help a little old lady cross the street?”
The teacher, who wasn’t 40 years old, was mortified. She politely laughed and awkwardly replied: “Good one, Riley.” She looked at me pointedly, as though I should be doing something to redirect my kid.

Which would have been a reasonable assumption, were I a good parent. 

A good parent would have redressed their son right then and there. They’d have spit a spiel about respecting their betters and the like. I did none of that, because I was too busy laughing.  Apparently, the restraint I showed by not high-fiving him was not appreciated by the teacher. Or his mother, who heard about the incident when we got home.

She gave him a long speech about respecting his teachers and how it is never OK to tease anyone in public. When she was done, she looked him dead in the eye and said sternly: “When you see her next, you’re going to have something nice to say to her, right?”
He nodded, smirked and said, “Yup. I’m going to say, ‘How you doing today? That was quite the walk for you yesterday, huh?’”
I should have reprimanded him, of course.  But I was too busy high-fiving him.