|Jason (not his real name) was a kid who loved cars. Loved
to work on them, look at them, watch racing on TV, anything with a motor
fascinated him. So, on the exact day he turned fifteen and a half,
he began to drive his mother and father everywhere in anticipation of his
'real' license when he turned sixteen.
One afternoon, his mother needed to go to the local store to pick up
a gallon of milk, so she asked Jason to back her huge Ford Bronco (the
old school type that was just a little smaller than a school bus) out of
the garage. Jason ran out the door, got in, buckled his seat belt,
and began to back into the driveway. As he did so, he felt the small
bump that means you've hit something with the car. As his heart raced,
he pulled the Bronco forward a bit, got out of the car, and realized he
had hit his father's.........Harley Davidson motorcyle.
To understand the depth of Jason's problem, it is good to know how Harley
owners feel about their machines. The Harley never spends the night
outside, unless covered by a custom made cover. The normal Harley
owner polishes the abundant chrome on his machine (never called a bike),
with a cloth diaper, and heaven forbid you damage their prize possession.
Jason had damaged his dad's Harley. He had bent beyond repair
the front fender on the machine, and knew that there was no denying it.
At this point, may kids would have bolted, or blamed it on someone else.
Jason, however, decided to do the right thing. He went into the house,
asked his mother where dad was, and owned up to the mistake he had made.
His dad was upset for sure, but felt a sense of pride in the way that his
15-year-old son had acted as a man in admitting his failure.
Jason made sure to tell dad right from the start that it was his
fault, and immediately offered to not only pay for the part ($140), but
to replace it as well. So impressed was his father in Jason's taking
responsibility, that his dad paid for half of the part, and the two of
them did the work on the Harley the next weekend.
Jack (not his real name) was a tough kid. Born to an Irish father
and a Portuguese mother, he had the temperament of the stereotypical red-headed
kid he was. Jack was no fool, however, very street-smart and savvy.
Jack's downfall, however, was that upon entering high school, he did
not possess the ability to get himself out of a tough situation without
a fight. And fight he did. By the time he was 16, Jack had
been in at least five fights in school, the last of which had gotten him
kicked out of school. After appealing for forgiveness, and attending
the Personal & Social Responsibility class he had that fall,
Jack was allowed back into school on a 'one strike' plan. One fight,
and he was out for good.
It wasn't Jack's personality that had to change, he was a very nice
young man one-on-one. It was his ability to filter situations that
set him up to be angry.
One such incident capped his comeback for all those who were rooting
for him. Jack was in the lunchroom one day in early May, with about
a month to go in his third year of school. A student with a worse
anger problem than Jack's was mouthing off to him, and Jack said something
back. The other student proceeded to dump his entire lunch tray over
Jack's head. Ravioli, green beans, a piece of bread, and chocolate
pudding. This, of course, was a prime, grade A, number one invitation
to be angry.
Fortunately, Jack had finally grown to realize that fighting doesn't
solve these problems, it only makes them worse. He stood up, called
the other kid a rather nasty thing (he's not perfect, after all), and began
to back up, then saying, "You're not worth it". An administrator
intervened, and Jack was removed from the situation. Although covered
with sauce and pudding, he gained a mountain of respect that day, and even
more so when he became the first member of his family going back to each
side's coming to America 100 years before, to graduate from high school
two year's later.