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I should have hit the pause button on my video recorder, but the principal’s words came out too quickly for me to react. She thanked all the parents who had made the kindergarten graduation ceremony such a resounding success — our mere presence at the function, she said, showed our commitment to the well-being of our children.

I winced at her words, knowing that they would crush my wife, an attorney, as she watched our 6-year-old daughter accept her kindergarten diploma — on video. Esther works for a small firm in Plano, Texas, and found herself trapped by a family law judge who continued a hearing to allow a tardy petitioner enough time to appear. Where’s a judge’s contempt power when you really need it?

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