Mar 292012


A few months ago, I went into Tish’s kindergarten classroom for my first conference with her precious teacher. She told me lots of wonderful things about Tish’s obedience, positivity, helpful attitude  . . . so many of these things, in fact, that I asked in all seriousness if she was sure she was referring to the correct paperwork. She was. At this point I felt kind of silly that I had brought our lawyer along.

A few minutes into the conference Tish’s teacher showed me a writing sample from the start of the school year. She explained that they’d been working on the sight words“I,” “like”  and “to” that week, so to assess the kids, she’d asked them to complete the sentence:  “I like to….”

Then she pulled this paper out of her folder and placed it in front of me.


Ah. I said. Interesting. Hm. Wow.

Tish’s teacher smiled and said yes, you can see she really knows her sight words.

Yes, I said. That’s just what I was thinking. About how proud I am of her sight word ability. Yes. Good.Proud.


I called Husband as soon as I walked out the school doors:

Husband: Hey! How’d the conference go?

Me: I’ll tell you how it went: TISH LIKES TO SIN.

Husband: What? So she’s being bad? Bad report?

Me: No. Good report, but she wrote about how she likes to sin. To her teacher. She wrote: “I LIKE TO SIN” in her official kindergarten assessment. The one they keep on record. So when she gets suspended in high school they’ll look back through her file and say, Ahhhh…yes. Well, the child did always like to sin. She told us from the beginning.


Craig: Okay. I’m totally confused. Are we in trouble? I mean, she likes to sin? Who doesn’t? At least she’s in public school. They don’t care that much about sinning, do they? Let’s just be grateful we didn’t send her to that catholic school.

Me: I just think it’s weeeeird. I’m nervous. What five year old writes that? Isn’t she supposed to write about liking puppies and jump roping and eating cookies or something? I think it’s weird.

Husband: Ohhhh. So you think it’s weird to write down your truthful response to a question even if it’s different and makes people uncomfortable?

Me: Shut up. Good bye.


I promised myself I would NOT bring it up to Tish. This was her writing, her private thoughts. It’s not like she put it on a BLOG. I decided that she deserved her privacy.

So I waited two whole hours, then caught her after dinner and said, “Honey, come here for a second.”

Craig glared.

I showed Tish a copy of her assesment.

“Sweetie. Your teacher showed me your writing. This is awesome.”

“Thanks, mom.”

“So, talk to me about this. Tell me more.”

Tell me more is what I say when I don’t know what the heck else to say. It’s actually ridiculously effective. With girls.Not with boys. NOT.

“I don’t know,” Tish said, “I just like to sing. It makes me feel good.”




Me: Craig! She doesn’t like to SIN she likes to SING! She’s not evil, she just can’t spell!!!!

That’s great honey. I like to sin, though.

Me: Me too. I like to sin, too.


My take away: One little g can make a big difference.





Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  151 Responses to “She’s a Sinner, She’s a Saint”

  1. […] I thought you might find this blog entry from Momastery a good read for a Monday morning:  […]

  2. i guessed it was sin right off, my kids are now 14 and 21. you’ll get the hang of it! (just kidding)

  3. Amazing. Reminds me of something that happened to me:
    When I was in 5th grade, during an indoor free period, I drew a picture of me with all my best girlfriends, with lots of detailed clothing, hairstyles, etc. One of the parent helpers saw and took me out in the hall, pointing to a certain place on the drawing and asking me what it was. It was the draw-string tie on my friend Kathleen’s super-stylish cargo pants. I could tell that she didn’t believe me and that I was IN TROUBLE. But I was so confused. Finally, I realized that this mother thought I had drawn a penis. I was SO EMBARRASED in the way that 11-year-olds are embarrased of anything bodily. But now I wonder if this mother was embarrassed too.

  4. this made me laugh. hard. with tears and all. thank you for sharing.

  5. So good. Reminded me of something…

    I was telling my 7-year-old little niece that my husband married me for my cooking. She looked right at me and said, “No. He married you ’cause you’re WICKED.”

    Still don’t know what she meant. But it scared the hell out of me.

  6. So funny! Pleased to see you are Presbyterian. Me, too! (Saw the One Great Hour of Sharing fish) :)

  7. I cannot control my laughter. All my family is asleep and I am crying in front of the computer. YOU ARE HILARIOUS!!!!! My favorite part is that you respect her privacy and you waited 2 whole hours to confront her. AHHHH, makes me want to write down everything funny my girlies do.

  8. My 3 yo nephew’s preschool class was asked to name what they loved most and it was put on a big poster in the classroom. To a child, each said, my mommy or my family. Except for J — he said “I love garbage trucks.”

  9. I like to sin. It’s just later when God/Someone else/I catch(es) me that I realize it wasn’t a great idea. LOL

    Singing… that’s good too.

  10. Priceless. On St.Patrick’s Day, my youngest daughter decided she wanted to draw a picture for the occasion. She is also in kindergarten, and learning how to spell. While working on her masterpiece, she asks how to spell “St.Patrick’s Day”, and I recite the appropriate letters, in what I believe, is slow succession. Imagine my surprise, when I walk over to see the drawing and it reads: HAPPY ST.PACKTITS DAY!!

    The Man and I are still laughing :-)

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