Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Impulse control and other lessons from the playground

Shea told us a relatively long and involved story tonight at dinner. In his halting way, he told us about his friend "Pete" who was mean to "Bill" and how "Pete" won't listen to "Bill" when "Bill" says stop.

Disclaimer: The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.

We had a good long talk about it and I proclaimed all sorts of parental type comments like; how a friend needs to "use their listening ears" and when a friend says "No!" or "Stop!" that you just need to listen to them. Sometimes these phrases come out of my mouth and I wonder who I am. Where did that come from? Honestly, I must have heard it myself many, many, many times before it flowed so effortlessly.

He sagely nods as if this is literally child's play for him and he already has this very simple life lesson nailed.

But he doesn't.

In fact, I find it interested that he wants to share this story with us now because it seems to be the exact issue that the teachers were bringing up about him on the playground.

Shea gets out there with the 50+ Kindergartners and gets revved up like an engine with faulty brakes. I know. 50! No wonder?

He wants to chase and play tag and do all sort of rough and tumble sorts of games and he may have several kids who are just fine with it for a time but when they have had enough, Shea has a tough time switching gears.

This is something we are working on and thankfully making progress on. And, now as I hear him regale us with this somewhat involved tale of how his naughty friend is doing the exact same thing, I find it charming and telling.

He is processing this lesson, somewhere in that sweet blond head, cataloging; defining; arranging; working it into the fabric of how he fits into the world; how friends are made and kept; how play stays play and doesn't turn into getting into trouble.

How many times does it take to say something for someone to learn? Answer: Depends on the person. With Shea it takes a bit of repetition for him to get it but that we already know.

He will get it. In fact, he is on his way to "getting it" right now.

Thanks "Pete" and "Bill"! You are keys to this puzzle.
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