I am the assistant teacher at a preschool. Today was the second day of school. It was great. The boys are a rowdy bunch, but I love them. The kinds of conversations you have with children are great, because you would never have them (or should never have them with another adult. Unless you need counseling, of course.) Here is a perfect example.
Me: "Jack take your hand out of your pants please."
"Jack": "My hand is not in my pants."
Me: "Nooooo, I can see your hand is in your pants, now please take it out."
"Jack": (insistently) "My hand is not in my pants! It's in my pocket!"
Me:(much more sternly this time) "Jack! This is your pocket! (I grab his pocket) This is the top of your pants (I point to the top of his pants)and your hand is down there so take it out now."
Jack: (forlornly with eyes down) "Okay, fine."
OR how about this conversation....
(Small boy comes running into classroom)
Boy: "Teacher! Teacher! come quick, she's crying!" He says and points outside the room.
I swiftly move out the door and see a sweet little girl dressed in pink from head to toe, wearing her hair in two afro puffs and standing outside of the bathroom. She is crying very loudly.
Me: "What's the matter honey? Why are you crying?"
"Jill": "It's the toilet paper! She wails. "It won't stop coming out! I can't make it stop!"
Me: (walking her into the bathroom now and into the stall to see a large mess of toilet paper all over the floor of the bathroom and still attached to the roll.)"See!" She shows me with her hand.
Me: "It's okay Jill, you just pull it off like this..." And I pull it off the roll.
We then washed our hands as she stood on the stool and I took her back to class, "relieved". No pun intended.
We think children have it easy and we know in fact that they do. But they don't see that. In Jill's mind, she had good reason to be upset, she was making a mess and couldn't fix it on her own. It was in fact not that big a deal, once I pointed it out to her.
Jack saw no reason why having his hand in his pants in public was wrong. If a grown-up did this in public they would be sent to jail for lewd behavior. In that moment it was up to me to explain that that is not okay.
Next time if a situation overwhelms you, try asking yourself if you are acting like a child. Then ask what your grown up self would do to calm your fears and then do it. And above all else, keep it in perspective, please!
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