A bit of a saw point

28th February 2014 at 00:00

I'm usually quite happy to share; it's just that my wife made it very clear from the start that she didn't want any. We had a long discussion about it and she was in no mood to change her mind. Until the moment she came face to face with the cold reality of a solitary portion of battered haddock, that is.

"But I don't want a full portion, I just want a few of yours," she says. Her U-turn sparks a short period of marital discord, after which I reluctantly hand over half my chips and she begrudgingly accepts them.

What I consider to be a personal sacrifice, my wife regards as an act of penance. It is my turn to make dinner but Caring and Sharing Day has left me too knackered to open the fridge door. So I've been to the Cod Above for a takeaway.

Many years ago, on our school's journey across the academic wilderness to a land of good with outstanding features, our principal delivered unto us eight core values. These were inscribed on Perspex and set high on the wall inside the main entrance. And one of those core values commanded us to "Care for our school and for all those in it".

But when put to the test some children lapsed in their commitment to care. Ryan deliberately threw Danny's shoe on to the roof for no apparent reason. A group of Year 4 children took it upon themselves to initiate some Year 3 children into their gang by pinning them down on the wet grass and smearing their faces with mud. The ritual inundation of the boys' toilets was the last straw.

Our Caring and Sharing Day is designed to reignite the spirit of care. It involves the children bringing a favourite toy into school and sharing it with their fellow students in a fun, collaborative and friendly way. For example, Ryan shares his boxing gloves with anyone who can take a left jab. Nathan shares everyone else's toys whether they want to or not. And Danny shares his germs with anyone who fancies a go on his harmonica.

It is clear by mid-afternoon that the spirit of care has been restored, for when I look down upon the classroom I see that it is good. And the children are happy to lend out their toys and to treat the toys of others with respect until...

Courtney: "Get off her, she's mine."

Britney: "No she isn't, she's mine."

They are fighting over a inappropriately dressed doll that is in immediate danger of being dismembered. I explain that the purpose of our Caring and Sharing Day is to learn to trust our friends with our most precious things but my words fall on deaf ears. I am in need of a solution of biblical proportions.

"Today, children, I am going to teach you about the Judgement of Solomon." I wave a junior hacksaw menacingly in the air and wait for silence to descend. "Now, it seems to me that if we can't decide who should have the doll, the only solution is to saw it in two and give you half each."

Courtney shrugs. "Go on, then."

"Yeah alright, saw it," Britney says.

The rest of the class begin to chant: "Saw it, saw it, saw it." The only one not chanting is Joanne who has burst into tears. I think it might be her doll.

Steve Eddison teaches at Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield, England.

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