When I was in the forth or fifth grade I learned one of the most valuable lessons of my life: don’t ever throw a rock anywhere near a window.
I swear it was an accident. I don’t think anyone has ever believed me, though. I was walking with my class from the trailer our class met in over to gym class or lunch; pretty sure it was gym class. I picked up a rock from beside the basketball court we walked across outside and was fiddling with it while I walked towards the back of the line.
The school sat at the bottom of a small hill, so the sidewalk was actually just about level with the roof. The sidewalk ran along this short hill and next to the parking lot where buses dropped us off in the morning.
Back to the roof. I was basically level with the roof and it was maybe 15 away at most, and from where I stood, a level shot. I tossed the rock.
It never reached the roof.
However, it did reach the inside of a classroom via a double-paned plate glass window. Oops. The teacher also wasn’t the one who was ever voted “Best Teacher” or “Most Likeable”. She was the one voted “Hope you don’t get her”.
What happened?! I tossed it up. It should have arced and landed on the roof with all the other pea gravel and random other rocks that had been tossed up there over the years. Clearly baseball was not in my future. However, the principal was.
That teacher covered a lot of distance from her room to that sidewalk in remarkable time. Since I had terrible parents (hint: sarcasm) who taught me not to lie about things, I accepted responsibility for breaking the window and followed her to the principal’s office.
The head principal wasn’t there that day (I think), so I ended up in Mr. Roberts’ office. He was in another part of the building because I had to wait on him. He arrived. I told my story.
Mr. Roberts went to the same church my dad was the youth pastor at; his kids were in my dad’s youth group. He called him and told him what happened. He also made it clear that I had cooperated with authorities and had not resisted arrest or tried to blame anyone else. (I was hoping for an early release on good behavior, I guess.)
Jumping forward a bit in the story. My dad arrived and we all talked about what happened. He took responsibility for me (thanks, Dad) and told Mr. Roberts he would pay for the window once they found out how much it would cost. (By the way, how does a window that’s supposed to be stronger than your average house window break when a scrawny kid gently tosses a small rock? Seems like a design flaw to me. Anyway.) I had to work off some of my debt to society by helping sweep the halls and the gym after school for a few days. No detention or silent lunch for me since I had cooperated.
What did I learn that day? If you’re going to throw a rock onto the roof of a building, you better make sure you don’t miss. And don’t lie. And never forget the story because one day it will be fun to tell.