How do you think I should have responded?
As I walked into the small high school office, two band students had their backs to me as they used the counter phone. I entered just in time to hear one of the girls explaining that she was going to get home late because
Mr. Gardner called a mandatory rehearsal.
The caller’s friend, who may have already made her call home, saw me first, displaying a shocked face as I approached and asked for the phone. In front of the two band parent secretaries who also heard the student, I simply shared with the parent….
Hello, this is Mr. Gardner and there is no after school band practice today.
I handed the phone back to the girl and went on about my business in the office, not listening to the rest of that conversation.
A few minutes later, in the hallway, with no witnesses, of course,….this normally smiley, friendly, terrific student and valued bandster unloaded some vocabulary on me to express her displeasure. I might have brushed off a temporary anger burst, but I couldn’t ignore what she said — and I knew her father would agree. So I went back to the office to use the phone. Keep in mind that I had just caught the daughter in a lie.
Pastor A____, this is Mr. Gardner again. I just want you to know that your daughter just used some bad language with me that is both unacceptable and disrespectful. Because this is the first time I’ve had any trouble with her, I’m not going to write-up anything through the school, but will be giving her some temporary extra band responsibilities as discipline for her behavior.
Pastor: My daughter doesn’t curse.
Sir, I’m not giving you second-hand gossip. I’m not telling you what I heard or what someone else told me. I’m giving you a first hand report about a face to face conversation to let you know that I will require your daughter to spend some extra time working in the band room as discipline for her behavior, and wanted you to hear it from me.
Pastor: You’re lying. My daughter wouldn’t say those things and you’d better not discipline her.
The daughter later apologized, completed her mandatory volunteer work around the band room, and hopefully learned and grew from the experience.
But I never visited her father’s church.