Idea not as good as it seemed

Published 8:57 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I’m sure at the time, the child’s plan seemed a like a good idea. To the 11-year-old Huntsville boy, the idea made sense.

The plan was this: instead of bringing home a bad report card, the boy told police he had been wrestled into a vehicle by armed men. The boy said the men stole his book bag – and the report card tucked inside it – but didn’t take his band instrument. He managed to escape and then reported the troubling incident to his grandparents.

As you can imagine, it didn’t take police too long to determine the story was bogus. It seemed odd, they said, anyone would be that interested in a boy’s book bag and, given the high-speed, dangerous escape the boy claimed, he was able to flee with a musical instrument.

The boy soon confessed he had lied, all in an effort to cover up a not-so-great report card.

This story had garnered national attention, and it reveals some interesting insight into the mind of a child.

First, he thought his grandparents would be so upset over the kidnapping they would forget about his report card. This is the art of deflection and one most of us practiced as a child.

Secondly, he didn’t really think through the details of his plan. You have to wonder when he concocted this plan and what he thought the results would be.

Third, he showed that even a child will reveal their true passion when under pressure. I mean, he had to get rid of the book bag while keeping the musical instrument, not an easy feat.

Reading this story brought back a memory of my own brush with a bad report card. I was 9 and had gotten a bad grade in math. Our parents were required to sign our report cards, so I knew the gig, so to speak, was up. Instead of faking a kidnapping, though, I opted to sign the report card myself, opting for my dad’s signature since I saw it as easier to handle.

The problem was I was still in the process of learning to write cursive. It didn’t take the teacher long to identify I had signed the report card myself.

I ended up in trouble. Big trouble. Far worse trouble than I would have been with the original report card.

And I imagine the 11-year-old Huntsville boy discovered the same thing. But buck up, son. This, too, will pass. You just keep playing that tuba and study a little harder next time.