My 5-year-old daughter confronts 2 first grade girls at our local elementary school playground who is not being nice to another girl who asks if she could play with them. There was no fear from my 5-year-old. Just a matter of fact "that's not nice". I learned a lot from her that day and it's worth revisiting now.
Children can be our greatest teachers if we are open to their lessons.
I saw the words forming on her lips from a distance, She was mouthing it to herself over and over a few times. She looked at me and made of face of not quite understanding what the issue was at hand for these girls. I encouraged her to speak her mind with a little nod of my head. And she did!
The girls rationalized that this was only a 2-player game. (They were playing kitchen with the mulch.) My 5-year-old responds by saying "you shouldn't make up the rules that way!" So true!
So many of our "rules" are just "rules" in our own mind. They are made up and untrue.
Shortly after that moment in time with my daughter, I had an experience of "What should I do?" My son was playing baseball at the time. And I overheard a coach say to one of the 8-year old boys on another team say: "You can't catch, you better be able to hit". All I could think of was "That's not nice." I was deeply conflicted.
I was angry and upset and knew if I heard this person speaking to my child like this there would be hell to pay. As a coach there is no room for insults. Were other people paying attention to what this person was saying to the children on the team? Were they keeping quiet? Do you they recognize the negative affect this could have on an 8-year-old? Was I blowing things out of proportion? Maybe this person was having a bad day? This person wasn't speaking to my kids that way, was it my business? Does anyone care? Do I care even though it wasn't my kid?
I sat with it for a day....I DID CARE!
This was bothering me. What should I do? What would you do?Sometime you just have to state the obvious. Maybe something will change, maybe it won't. I hope this story can help you to be brave in that moment when you need to say That's just not nice. Take the lead of my 5-year-old. Adults can rationalize all day about a situation, where a child just might know the right thing to do. Can you do the same?
What about me? I did call the league president at the time to let them know my concern.....
You might not have any control of the outcome, but we do have a voice and can say "That's not nice".
Speak up say it's not nice. Maybe as more of us point out the obvious. We will feel more connected and "our collective voice" could be heard saying what needs to be said.
If a 5-year-old can do it, so can you and me!