Bryce was an easy child. A man of few words, he learned by watching his older brother, Jonathan, who was often in time-out for an attitude adjustment or to pay penance for a transgression. Bryce discerned at an early age how to either avoid the no-nos or totally fly under his mother's radar while Jonathan continued to barrel his way through boundaries hoping we wouldn't notice. We noticed. A lot.
On fine summer afternoon, Bryce managed to behave in a way that merited some "think" time in his room. While Jonathan generally scoffed at punishments trying to make them seem ineffective, Bryce visibly dreaded the "Isolation Chamber." Teary-eyed, he stood in the middle of his room while I set the timer for the assigned amount of minutes. "Brycie, stay in here until the timer dings! Then, we will talk," I said as I breezed back to the kitchen.
A minute or two went by before I stepped away from the sink to peer across the living room down the hall to Bryce's bedroom door. There he stood with his body in the doorway and one foot in the hall. "Brycie, put both feet in your room!" I warned. He stared at me as he pulled his foot slowly into place. His eyes were sending subliminal messages to my brain. "You can send me to my room, but you cannot control my will to be free!" sang loud and clear in my head. Trying to look unfazed by his passive agressive mind control, I spun on my heels and headed back to the sink.
A few more minutes passed. I turned off the water to listen carefully. I thought I heard some kind of rustling in front of the island where I was washing dishes. My eyes caught a flash of color passing...no...commando crawling on the floor just in front of the counter. Hmmm. That commando looked like Bryce. Could he possibly be that brave? Suddenly, up he popped square in front of me. "I guess you've never even read the Bill of Rights!" he blurted before continuing on his way around the island in route to his jail cell. "Bryce! Get back to your room! I'm going to reset the timer!"
Timer reset, I returned to my dishes. A few minutes passed before the commando once again made his stealthy approach. This time I was interested to see what the warrior had in mind. Up he popped exclaiming, "You probably don't even believe in the Statue of 'Liverty!'" Touche, my little grasshopper. I had, indeed, neglected to recall my "beliefs" in Lady Liberty before the great exile. Mayhaps I acted rashly in such a way that totally contradicted all that she represents. Yeah, right. "Bryce, let's reset the timer!" I volleyed as I followed him back to his room. I left him staring at my back with his hands on his hips. He was determined to show me the error of my ways.
Back at the sink, I waited without picking up a single dish. I was actually anxious to see which icon of democracy he would flail at me next. The freedom fighter did not disappoint. This time he boldly marched past like a dignitary in a 4th of July parade. "You've probably never even heard of the Constitution!" he fired. Good one, my child, good one. "Follow me," I said as I escorted him to the living room couch. Once there, I explained how the law works in America. You break one. You go to jail. You bust out of jail. You get more time in jail. Simple as that.
I followed him back to his room and reset the timer. "Feel free to break out of jail. This timer has lots of time on it," I said as I confidently headed back to my dishwater. He was a smart boy. He served out the rest of his sentence without even rattling the bars.