Let’s Talk About Punishment

I want to talk a bit about punishment and what’s appropriate for the offense.  Dr. Kevin Leman from Have a New Teen in Five Days talks a lot about taking away the car and cell phone.  The cell phone along with Tumblr is my nemesis.

The thought of punishment came to me last week when I was sitting at Sunshine’s dress rehearsal for Harvey and the stage manager came out at intermission and said the role of “Wilson” will be played by the maid.  Apparently the day before opening night of the play, the guy who was playing Wilson, who also happens to be Sunshine’s boyfriend, was taken out of the play by his mom because he got a bad grade on his mid-term grade in a college class and his mom made him leave mid-dress rehearsal and said he couldn’t be in the play.

In a school with no understudies, there was an understandable panic.  Also in a school where the theater teacher is playing the lead and retiring after 25 years, there was something really special about it.  So Panic, with a capital P.  Also, if you know the play Harvey, you know Wilson has to “seduce” Myrtle Mae, played by Sunshine.  And to see the MAID do that in the second act of the dress rehearsal, let’s just say uncomfortable.  When I told Sunshine I was uncomfortable, this happened:

Me:  Watching Nikki seduce you in the second act was a little uncomfortable?

Sunshine:  Oh Really!!  Uncomfortable for who(m)??  I had to be seduced by Nikki!!

There was a lot of yelling and exclamation points, and worry that the play was going to be a disaster and should they cancel it and ultimately, just disappointment from the rest of the cast.  The theater teacher tried to talk to Wilson’s mom and she hung up on her.  I think the consensus was that he should be punished, but not everyone in the play, right?  And apparently he’d lied about some homework and the mid-term grade was a C, and he’s a senior in high school.  It just seemed a little severe.

Sunshine was so worried all day and then after noon, she finally found him and he told her his mom would let him perform.  Crisis averted and the play was amazing.  I would say that Sunshine stole the show, and I will.  She was amazing!

Wilson, Veta, and Myrtle Mae.

This whole thing brings me back to my question about punishment.  What’s excessive?  Sunshine asked me if I’d take her out of the play last minute and I don’t know what she’d have to do for me to do that.  I hope we never come to that.  The problem is I see how hard those kids work and it would have to be something really bad for me to ruin it for them.  And most of them were seniors and it was their last play.

So what kind of punisher are you?  Are you excessive, a stickler, or soft on punishment?   As someone who’s had Moonshine’s cell phone for three weeks now and made her take her Facebook page down, I completely believe in punishment, but how do you get the punishment to fit the crime?  What do you think?


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