How to confuse children well into adulthood.

I wasn’t always the best behaved child. I’d occasionally get caught, and (rightly!) get in trouble for it. Sometimes though, we get in trouble, and the punishment is just … odd.

One instance that comes to mind is at junior school (I think I was somewhere between 6 and 8 years old). There were two play grounds, one for the smaller children, and one for the bigger. So, you’d have two adults on ‘playground duty’. I was on the larger playground, and the lady on duty had the surname ‘Sergeant’. I can’t remember the conversation that led up to this instance. Thinking back to my younger self, there probably wasn’t a conversation that led up to it. Regardless, I went up to her, smartly saluted, and shouted ‘Aye aye, Sergeant!’.

She did not take it well. Her face went bright red, and she gave me a rather sound telling off. In retrospect, it was probably a ‘joke’ that she’d heard all her life, so I can see why she’d be pretty fed up of it. The telling off was all fair enough – I’d been pretty disrespectful to her. I got that, so I owed her an apology.

However, her telling off finished with an instruction to apologise to the other teacher on duty – not to her. I clearly remember toddling off in a rather confused state to the other playground to apologise to the teacher there for what I’d done. He looked a bit confused as well, but accepted by apology.

The only reason I remember this incident so well is that I was so confused about the punishment. I still am. Surely I should have apologised to her?

I’m not even sure what the underlying message of this post should even be. Don’t give children confusing punishments that will still confuse them over a couple of decades later?

I still don’t get it, even today.

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