We are constantly helping our children navigate social situations. Whether it’s encouraging the toddler to share or the preschooler to take turns, it’s a conversation in which we are constantly engaging. And that’s fine with me. These conversations are critical to sending our children out into the world equipped to both care for it and handle it.
The other day M and I were solving all of the world’s problems as they relate to 1st grade girls. There is one girl in particular (“Annie”) that M really wants to be close to, and this girl happens to spend most of her time with another child (“Emma”). Sound familiar? M was sharing with me how much she wants to play with “Annie,” and we were brainstorming how to handle the situation.
I suggested that she invite “Annie” to play with her, eat lunch with her, and work next to her. “Try and come up with things you can do together,” I said. She thought about it, and then looked up at me. “Yeah, she started. “I would need to include “Emma” too though. I don’t want her to feel like me.”
“I don’t want her to feel like me.”
She took my breath away with that statement. M is deep. She is sensitive and complex, and she absorbs the world around her right to her core. It’s beautiful. And exhausting. In this moment, however, it was like she turned on all of the lights.
Because what if we actually moved through life this way? Being more aware of how our actions would affect not only us but also those around us? What if instead of being jealous we were more appreciative? What if instead of being resentful we were grateful? What if instead of being angry we chose happiness? What if we cared more about each other and less about ourselves, even when we were feeling left out or sad? Wouldn’t things be just a little bit better in this crazy chaotic world?
Children are amazing. I’m hitching my wagon to M’s star and following her lead all the way. Girl’s going places, and I want to be there too.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.