(Strip Number 7229, Original Publication Date, 2 November 1986)
Panel 1: We find Mike and Elly attending an open house at his school. Elly stops to admire the self-portraits the other kids have made.
Panel 2: When she notices to her alarm that Mike has drawn himself facing backwards, he explains he was given a C for neatness.
Panel 3: Mike's second fifth grade teacher introduces herself to Elly and says she's delighted to meet her.
Panel 4: This is because Michael is a delight to teach.
Panel 5: When his being helpful, polite and courteous is praised, Elly is pleasantly shocked.
Panel 6: She thought-bubbles that Teacher is talking about HER kid because he's a surly jerk to her for some reason she doesn't understand and wouldn't especially want to.
Panel 7: She then just asks him why he can't be the same great kid at home that he is at school.
Panel 8: He pauses so he can think up an answer that won't get him into trouble.
Panel 9: When he comes up with the suggestion that he only has so much goodness to go around, she's all gobsmacked.
Summary: We know the real answer, though, don't we? Children tend to respond to POSITIVE reinforcement and like to help people who display gratitude, eschew the entitlement that defines Elly and John and don't scream endlessly at them for pretty much nothing. Mike ain't too bright but he at least knows not to tell Elly the truth about herself.