My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

Slave Time!


The ring is gone. I finally pulled the plug, as it were, yesterday afternoon. I felt better immediately. Funny how that works. My body is much happier now. Sigh.

On Tuesday, which was National Philanthropy Day, I attended a philanthropy workshop held before the local awards luncheon. The speaker was an amazing man – head of the Center for Wealth and Philanthropy at Boston College (you can look him up but he looks nothing like the photo they've got posted). Reminded me in many ways of my deceased Jewish grandfather. This guy has a Jesuit educational background and a M.Div., so not so much Jewish but still funny and engaging as hell.

He talked about creating a “moral biography” for not only ourselves but our donors and that by giving to our organizations, we can help them fulfill their moral biography.

He used his children as examples of what he was talking about and mentioned, along the way, an unusual punishment wrought on his children when they didn’t behave (he has three; all grown now).

He called it “slave time.” Basically, his children would get increments of “slave time” when they were bad and it involved doing chores with one of their parents whether it’s fifteen minutes in the kitchen after dinner washing dishes, clearing the table, emptying the dishwasher; or three hours weeding (as his son was made to do).

I liked this idea a lot because they are not being made to do things their parents don’t already do and they are doing it with the parent, not alone. So, I think I’ll institute this “slave time” when necessary in the future. Dusty already probably thinks she’s doing it when I make her clean up her room.

Too bad we can’t enforce slave time on pets. Wouldn’t it be nice to see your cat working for YOU for a change?


Some evenings Dusty will tell me she’s got a secret to share. Something she wants to tell me in private. These secrets encompass everything from the idiot boy who took away some doodad from her book bag by threatening her on the bus (we’ve dealt with that) to the fact that she got to see a puppet show on Monday.

Yesterday’s secret was that the class was so bad that they all lost recess privileges. Of course, Dusty was not one of those who contributed to this Lord of the Flies breakdown in civility but she still lost because of the others. Which I think is unfair. Yesterday was also the transition from regular teacher being in charge to the student teacher being in charge and clearly the boys (they out number the girls 10 to 7) took advantage of this. But why Dusty should suffer in a situation that is clearly out of her control is beyond me. I may bring this up at the parent/teacher meeting this afternoon, ask whether it’s possible for the well-behaved children to join another class at recess. Because Dusty loves, loves, loves recess and should not be punished because other kids suck. Sure, life’s not fair in general, but this really sticks in my craw.

On Friday, though, her class goes to the park for a field trip. Hope that goes well. At least for my kid.


11:06 a.m. ::
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