Wednesday, February 20, 2013

L is for Lawyer

Awhile back, I had gotten an email from Aubrey's daycare saying that the letter of the month for February was "L" and would any parent be willing to talk to the preschoolers and kindergartners about their job that starts with L?  So I said, "Sure, I will do it!"
Then I thought - um, I'm awful at explaining things to children.  The last time I tried to explain to my niece what I do in court, I started telling her about this dad whose rights I was trying to terminate was a sex offender.  I'm not sure the teachers at Aubrey's school would be down for that.  So I contacted the mother, as she teaches wee little ones and knows how to speak their language.  And she knows that I'm definitely not good at "teaching," per se. 
She managed to find a book for me that explains what lawyers do to children.  It was written by a lawyer, and it goes through the different types of lawyers out there and explains what they do.  But the problem is the book is written for maybe some older elementary school children.  Some of the words and explanations for things were a little over their heads.  Not too sure that 5 year olds understand what a limited liability corporation is, you know?  So I kind of had to ad lib just a bit. 
First question when I started talking "What's a crime?"  I hope my explanation was okay.  I said it was like a really important rule and if someone breaks that rule, they get a punishment.  One of the kids said "like a time out?"  "Sure, but a really long time out because this is a very very important rule."  I tried my best.  "What's a case?"  "What's a judge?" 
I had to laugh because when I asked for questions at the end, I think I got more "statements" than questions.  "My mom and dad want to buy a house, but mommy says that we spend too much and don't have money."  "When we moved, my mom said I could paint my room blue but when we moved the room was already painted blue."  I mean, I was cracking up with some of these statements.  But I'll admit some of the questions were good, too.  Hopefully they learned something. 
The funny thing is, I speak in front of judges and other attorneys all the time.  But a group of 5 year olds?  Totally made me sweat.  But it was a lot of fun. 
I ended the discussion by asking "who wants to be a lawyer when they grow up?"  "Noooo!" most of them said, with several interjecting which career they want.  "Scientist!  Veterinarian!"  I wanted to smile and say "good for you!"  Here's my Sallie Mae bill, kids.  Don't go to law school.  But who knows?  There may have been a future attorney in that bunch.  I certainly hope none of them will need an attorney in the future for any big "rule" breaking....

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