The emotional roller coaster of preschoolers is in full swing at Christmastime. Tears, yelling, hitting, not sharing – it all surfaces at this time. I’m there to help them navigate the waters and make things right. In the end, children ‘move on’, quickly. I am convinced the source of ‘Forgive and Forget’ must have been founded with young children.
Here is a classic example of how it goes:
A child is crying, wailing, on the playground. This is a child who never cries, so it must be important.
“She hit me with the shovel.”
It was a hard hit. Did I reprimand the aggressor? No.
I looked to make sure the victim was okay, but first I made sure the aggressor was there beside me, watching and listening. She needed to see the care I gave to her victim.
Then I turned to her. “How can you make this right?”
Now, this is big! The turning point. She hasn’t been punished, she has been empowered to ‘fix it.’
And she does. She asks her victim, “Are you okay?”
He shakes his head yes.
“What do you need?”
“I need a hug.”
The two children hug like long lost friends. Then they run off to play together.
I must say, we adults can take a long and hard lesson on how children bounce back.
This is how children develop empathy and understanding. You have to be in the middle of a conflict to work your way out. Hands-on learning is far more than feeling and touching objects – it’s feeling and touching others.
And in the classroom? Yes, the same emotions are happening. At our Morning Meeting, things were at a peak. I looked at Gloria, sitting and holding a favorite book. I yelled to her.
“Gloria. I hear you. You look sad. Do you want to say something?”
I looked worried. Children could sense something was not right with Gloria. She came to Morning Meeting and told the children how she was feeling. Actually, she poured her heart out. She didn’t like the arguing she was hearing. So, she laid it out, told the children how she felt.
This was empowering. Because Gloria is beloved, children listened and cared. They understood. They changed. Gloria is an angel. She joined us as we read a wonderful Christmas book, “Apple Tree Christmas.”
And, we decorated a tree over and over again. Do you see the book on the shelf? “Peter and the Wolf.” It is the best introduction to music and instruments. We listened to the CD, and worked hard to hear the violin, the clarinet, the oboe, French horn, and more.
“Where words fail, music speaks.”
~Hans Christian Andersen~