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'MEG AND THE WEEK OF DESPAIR' by BETHANY MARTIN

June 23, 1988

"Today at the mall I kind of acted up. Daddy says that I acted selfish because I cried when I did not get a little toy that I wanted. Daddy says I need to learn how to handle disappointments. Now Mom and Dad have decided that for a week I will have to go to bed half an hour earlier. Boy, did that make me mad! I don't really think it's fair. But they say it's too bad, and that it will make me stronger when I grow up. I think that's foolishness, but they don't."

Meg closed her diary and sat on her bed. It had been a long day. The next day was Monday. When Meg got to school she started to do her work. At the end of the day Meg's mother picked her up and brought her home. Before Meg knew it, it was 8:30.

"Time to go to bed, Meg," her father called.

"OK," Meg yelled back. "Mom, will you read to me?" Meg asked.

"We have to read before 8:30."

"But Mom--"

"Good night, dear."

Meg went to her room and closed her door. Then she took out her diary.

"Maybe if I'm good all week I won't have to go to bed early on Friday, because they know how much I like to stay up late on Friday."

Meg closed her diary and fell asleep.

The next day as she walked to school she felt both happy and sad.

At the end of school, Meg ran all the way home. When she got there she did her homework quickly, and then she danced for a while. Then she ate dinner.

When 8:30 came, her dad called, "Time to go to bed, Meg."

After she got in bed, she fell asleep thinking pleasant thoughts.

On Thursday, Meg knew she had been good all week. She hoped her parents would not make her go to bed early on Friday.

So on Friday night, Meg went to her room and started to read. Seven-thirty went by, then eight came and went. Meg was really enjoying the book she was reading.

Then, 8:30 came. Meg heard her father call, "Time for bed, Meg."

Meg felt as though her heart stopped beating. She had been good all week, but she slowly closed her book and went to sleep.

The next day, which was Saturday, Meg woke up and stretched. She sat quietly on her bed listening to the birds outside her window. She reached for her diary.

"I think I really learned a lesson this week. I know I have to be responsible for the way I act. Mom and Dad will be pleased that I understand that better now."

Meg closed her diary and sighed. It had been a long week.

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