Getting caught and getting in trouble are childhood memories we all share. Whether our crimes were big or small, numerous or far and few between, we’ve been busted. Don’t just share the times you come off smelling like a rose. Write about those times you got in trouble (or even got away with something).
It’s interesting to look back on our “crimes” and the penalties with both a child’s and an adult’s eye.
Looking back with humor
Remember how much we dreaded getting caught? As a child, misbehavior and its consequences were a big deal. However, with the benefit of hindsight (and outgrowing your parents ability to give you a whooping), these episodes often shrink into humorous episodes.
Such hijinks are just the types of stories that yearn to be told (written).
Think about your past misdeeds. Are any of your pranks funny in retrospect? Was the punishment? Were you immediately busted or was there an investigation of sorts? (Hint: Some examples at Reddit.com)
Write about typical antics
Was there something you repeatedly got in trouble for? Did you have co-conspirators? Who were they? Did you usually get away with your caper or was getting caught the norm? How does this shed light on the personalities and rhythms of your childhood home?
Remembering with remorse
Not every act we did as children (or as adults) was a harmless prank. Sometimes, looking back we feel truly remorseful.
Depending on the age of your readers, you might want to consider writing not only about getting caught, but about how you feel about your actions today. Did you follow the group when you shouldn’t have? Did you endanger yourself or others? Such memories, though sometimes tough to write about, foster deeper connections with your loved ones.
Reminisce about penalties
Child rearing and punishment have varied greatly over the decades. They also differ greatly from family to family. What disciplinary action was likely to follow getting caught in your childhood household?
My most infamous childhood crime was perpetrated against the bathroom wallpaper and my sister. At age six, I wrote my sister’s name on the bathroom wall in soap. The problem was, my older sister only wrote in cursive and I didn’t know how to.
In my mother’s family, lying was up there with murder. You just didn’t do it. So, even though my attempt to frame my sister was pathetic (and was in soap), I lost tremendous face in my mom’s eyes. Even when we were 15 and 13 and it was my sister’s word against mine, my mom always thought back to my six-year-old crime.
Did you ever suffer consequences other than the punishment that was dolled out? Was the punishment too harsh or too soft? What would you do today as a parent?
Re-thinking the crime
Most of the engineers I know remember watching Roadrunner cartoons with a critical eye. Most of the time, they’d shake their heads at the coyote’s schemes. Every engineer I know remembers watching some episodes thinking, “now that might work….”
Where did you go wrong in your crime?
Getting caught as an adult
The same parameters apply for getting busted as an adult. Some of us have been an adult a lot longer than we were kids. Write about the ticket you got or what you were caught doing. Was it mortifying at the time? How do you feel about it now? Did you learn anything from it?
What’s your memory about getting caught?