Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bawl on a String

“When someone asked Abe Lincoln, after he had been elected president, what he was going to do about all his enemies, he replied,
“I am going to destroy them. I am going to make them my friends.”

There was a ‘pincher’ in a class near mine. He targeted a ‘screamer’. It got to the point where the ‘pincher’ merely laid a finger on the ‘screamer’ and fabulous ballet of nurses and faculty would come running from everywhere to see what “hatchet murder” was taking place. Well, the powers that be decided that these two children move up together in my class. I worked closely with the parents, faculty, and spoke regularly to both the children. There would be no added attention to the situation till I got to the bottom of what was REALLY going on.
It turns out…if you hadn’t guessed already, these two had socialization issues. They were naturally drawn to each other but, didn’t know how to engage socially other than…well, pinching and screaming…and yes, they were annoying each other…and everyone else in their, “getting-to-know-you-phase”. Thankfully, we had a floater I could use that would shadowed the boys through their friendship process. They cried regularly, were offended on a whim, and need lots of teacher guidance when problem solving.
It all took time… but the boys eventually understood how to be friends with each other and with others.
I don’t believe I have ever seen a child look at another as ‘an enemy’. Little kids will argue or even fight…but ten seconds later they are playing together….happily. As a parent or teacher we can use that-there are teachable moments for children when they are receptive….teachable moments for us ‘big people’,too…if we are REALLY paying attention.

No comments: