** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.
Living in a large family, there are a lot of cousins and other relatives. At a recent family reunion, one of my cousins related this hilarious story to a few other relatives and me. My cousin was about 13 when he decided that he wanted to be able to be the boss. While this, in and of itself, is no great surprise, most teens want to be in charge, this particular cousin plotted out a way to be removed from his parent's home, or so he thought.
My cousin called child protection services and told them that his parents made him eat off of the floor. After a lengthy conversation with children’s protection services, he was sure he had finally made sure that he could be in another family and have everything his way.
A few nights later, at supper time, there was a knock at the door. It was children’s protective services. His mother answered the door, listened to what the lady had to say, and promptly invited the woman in to observe the family dinner ritual.
His mother called everyone to dinner, and all seven of the kids came racing into the kitchen, where they prayed and then received a plate of food. At this point in time, my cousin didn’t yet realize that protective services were at their house and observing.
The kids then took their filled plates into the living room, where they all sat in a circle on the floor with their plates of food on their laps and began to eat. The protective services lady sat in a chair and began to ask the children some questions.
The woman made several observations after talking with the children. One of the observations was how the children automatically all sat in a circle and placed their plates on their laps (the family didn’t own a dining table, so this was how their mother served meals). She also noted that the children were well-behaved and not at all afraid of either one of their parents.
One of her questions to the children was whether or not they always used a plate. Satisfied with the answer that they always used plates and proper eating utensils and that the children were in no danger, she left and filed her reports with the state.
My cousin, however, found himself grounded for a time after this incident. He learned the value of telling the truth and the value of hard work, and he was forced to give up all of his money from mowing yards and other yard work to help purchase a dining table.
He also had to apologize to the children’s protective services for wasting their time on a fib. Today, he is a teacher in a middle school, and he often shares with his students his antics as a young teen. I’m sure he can give them plenty of great examples of what not to do. What would you have done if it were your teen?