Yesterday morning, I was at Audrey’s home as she was getting William (4) and Alex (3) ready for pre-school. This is no ordinary task, as Benjamin (will be 2 next week) and Henry (9 months) are very much in-the-mix, too. There’s breakfast for 4, clothing for 4, backpacks for 2, diapers for 2… you get the picture!
At one point, when Audrey was busy otherwise, Alex asked William if he liked his (Alex’s) shirt. Alex loves his 3-button, collared shirts and will wear nothing else. He calls them his “handsome” shirts. William didn’t answer Alex at first, so Alex asked again, a bit louder. Still no answer from William.
Alex is a determined little guy and would not be dissuaded from his important question about his handsome shirt. He asked again. And again.
Finally, William answered, “Why do you have to ask me about your shirt every morning?”
This is when I stepped in. I said to William, “Think about how many words you had to say to Alex and still not answer his question, when all you had to say to him was, ‘Yes.’ Let’s count them. Hmmmm. You said 12 words instead of 1. And your 12 words didn’t make Alex feel good. One ‘YES’ would have made him feel very, very good.”
William then looked at Alex and said (maybe a bit reluctantly), “Yes.” But I could see the wheels turning in William’s head, and decided to jump on the opportunity to discuss kind/unkind. I asked him to get me some paper and crayons. We sat down and quickly came up with a list of NICE words that make people feel really good. Some of them are:
I love you!
Let me help
You look pretty (this is William’s phrase to describe his Mommy)
We are continuing to build our list of EASY NICE words that make others feel very, very good. Do you have any suggestions? I will compile them all and pass them along!
I must say that this little “lesson” inspired both William and Alex to watch their words all day yesterday… and to think about how other people may feel.