Monday, January 15, 2007


A Legacy of Non-Violence.

My children have learned a bit about the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr in school recently, and, while some lessons are barely retained in their fevered little brains, something about the good Doctor has stuck with them. I know this because, yesterday, they waged their very own version of a peaceful protest.

Both children had been invited to sleep over at the home of a friend and, with the schools closed today in honor of MLK, they were of the mind that they could not be denied.

Yet, we denied them. The subsequent protest began with a hastily-organized sit-in in front of my bathroom door.

After an hour with no sign of either child leaving their position anytime soon, and, in deference to the absence of the customary whining, begging and trademark annoying behavior that generally accompanies such situations, I was impressed enough to hear them out.

The Man-Cub’s argument utilized the time-tested “Tell Them What They Want to Hear” approach which is really less of an argument than say, a bargaining process, by reminding us that, with both him and his sister out of the house, Hugh and I would be alone. Together. To do those unspeakable things that parents do when they are left alone together, the highlights of which, according to the Cub, include watching horror movies with the volume at a level that would be otherwise verboten. Although, I must confess, when he initially phrased it as; “And you two will be able to make scary noises without waking me up” my heart did skip a beat.

Or three.

Not convinced that her brother’s approach would be ultimately successful, The Girl tried bribery; specifically, if I let her go, she promised to indulge me in a long backrub upon her return. When that didn’t seem to be panning out for her, she panicked and back-slid to thinly veiled threats, suggesting that, perhaps, I didn’t want a backrub again, ever. A slight raise of my left eyebrow reminded her that threats have no place in a peaceful negotiation and she immediately back-peddaled to bribery. Thus, having settled upon two backrubs on the evenings of my choice along with one foot massage upon her return, the deal was sealed.

Each child attended their respective sleep-over, Hugh and I enjoyed a quiet evening together, making noise that would otherwise have woken the Cub up, and no one was arrested.

The power of peaceful protest; beautiful.

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