September 14, 2010 I Don’t Want to be a Caboose
This is what I heard this afternoon when I picked up Sweet T. from school.
She had it all worked out. She didn’t have to go to school tomorrow, because “sometimes people miss school if they are sick or away on a trip.” Last I checked there were no trips planned, and hopefully she will NOT be ill tomorrow morning.
I popped her bubble.
As we were driving home, try as I might, I needed to find out why. No mother wants her child to dislike school. Not in Kindergarten at least. They are supposed to hate school when it’s hard. Sweet T. had made up her mind. She would not be deterred.
“Okay, I need to know why you don’t like school,” I said.
“Today I was the line leader,” she explained nearly in tears. “So tomorrow I have to be the caboose. If my friend is the line leader then I can’t stand next to her.”
It is funny that teachers use this term for the child who is last in line. I remember how exciting it was to watch a train pass when I was little. I would look anxiously towards the end of the train. Waiting for my chance to wave at the conductor in the back of the caboose. However, now a-days, the only time you see a caboose is at a museum.
Essentially, they are worthless.
I don’t blame her. It’s hard to be last. It’s hard to feel like everyone gets to go first but you. Especially when your friends are part of “everyone”.
Sure, I could have used it as an opportunity to teach about putting others first (which we do talk about all the time.) Instead I used it as a time to just love her. Sometimes that’s all we really need. To know that we are loved, even on really bad days. Even when we have to be a caboose.