Thankful Thursday #4

     I am thankful for so many things every day.

Today, I am thankful for harmless pranks.

     Life is hard, stressful and busy. We tend to take things too seriously or let things build up then something minor sets us off.  There are many things that need us to be serious and aggressive, but it is so nice to just have a little harmless fun sometimes.

     I can't believe schools are already starting back around here.  It really seems like it just let out.  Summer always goes fast, but it seems like schools start back earlier and earlier every year.  I think northern schools start later and let out later.  The problem here with school in August is the heat.  We used to start back after Labor Day then the end of August.  We take a lot more time during the school year with breaks and longer holiday breaks than we used to.  Thanksgiving week we usually only got out Thanksgiving and Friday, now the whole week is out.  There are also Fall breaks and Winter breaks.  I do think it's better having breaks throughout the year even though it means starting earlier to get in the total number of school days needed.

     Pranks are definitely different than they used to be.  With shows about them and social media people definitely can take pranks too far and sometimes they are dangerous.

     Then, there are the old fashioned just fun pranks.  I saw this morning one of the area high schools suffered their senior prank for the first day of school. Senior pranks are a rite of passage.  My senior year, the classmate who came up with our prank was the son of one of the teachers.  His dad was also the preacher of one of our town churches and you know what they say about preacher's kids!  He thought it would be funny to put crickets in the ceiling of the high school.  We had drop ceilings everywhere and his mom had a school you can guess what happened.  It was harmless, until the noise was too much and those little critters were hard to round up!

     Kids have a lot more to deal with today and if we don't let them "act out" a little bit it can just build up.  Teens have always expressed themselves and while it can be at a whole different level today, teens are really no different than teens of years ago.

     I don't know if it is a southern thing, but these high school seniors must have gotten their idea from their grandparents because toilet papering a yard or home has been going on here for years! You take rolls of toilet paper and throw them letting the paper hang from trees.  I remember when I was younger and then in high school waking up to a "winter wonderland" of toilet paper in the yard.

     These teens must have bought every roll of paper in their county because from the pictures I saw, they outdid themselves.  Evidently, it is a tradition at the school and a couple of years ago there was punishment for it.  I understand rules and everything, but give the kids a break.  They didn't harm the property, they clean it up, and anytime young generations pay attention and take pride in heritage and tradition it is a good thing.

     I remember in high school getting caught rolling a yard with my friends. It wouldn't have been so bad, but it was the varsity basketball coach! I know it sounds weird, but around here, it was almost a compliment to have your yard rolled.  Everyone in town knew about it.

     Another thing we did around here is called "ding, dong, ditch."  We ring door bells and run.  I took my youngest and some of his friends one night when they were in 8th grade to go do this.  They were so funny, though.  The one house they really wanted to prank didn't come to the door so they went back and just stood there ringing the bell until he answered.  It was the dad of a young football coach and I think they wanted to visit rather than prank!  He looked at me like he was going to shoot me for bringing over these boys late at night.

     There's a difference between being mean and just good, harmless fun.  Kids, especially teens, take a lot of cues from us adults.  We have to let them express themselves and take every opportunity to connect with them.  That's when they are open and listen to us.  If we are too hard on them for the wrong things, they will rebel.

     And sometimes those messes are a heck of a lot harder to clean up than toilet paper.


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