Several days ago, there was an altercation in the neighborhood. It involved at least four boys, and drove all of them to their own homes, most in tears. Since two of the involved belong to me, I got the story twice. And without going into details (I've forgotten them), I will say I believed my boys that they were not the offending parties.
Later that evening, I learned two things. One, that I was right. The offending party was a neighbor, who took the walk of shame to various houses - ours included - to apologize. Two, that my children are rude. When the cute little neighbor apologized for his earlier behavior, my boys refused to look at him, wouldn't answer him, and got my blood boiling.
We had some very serious discussions that night. About how we treat others. About respect.
I think the lectures sank in.
The next day, Camden came home from school very sad. His buddy, who just days before had declared Camden his "bff forever," had retracted that grand status. There had been a disagreement over legos and the bff's were at odds. Camden was heartbroken.
Upon returning home, Jake announced that he wanted to stay outside. It wasn't until the bus passed by that I figured out why. Jake got the buddy off the bus, took him across the street to a little stand of trees, and chewed that kid out. It took about ten minutes, and eventually the two of them entered our house.
The buddy, under Jake's watchful eye, apologized.