The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Tuesday, December 14, 2010]


A few weeks ago, I was visiting one of my kiddos that I see as an itinerant teacher. I'll call her Hattie. She's a hearing child who is pretty much caught up with her language... except for her social language. She can use her words pretty ruthlessly, without really meaning to hurt others. I'm not sure how much she recognizes that others have feelings like she does.

On this day, Hattie sat down to do a puzzle, and her little friend from class, Opeibea, wanted to join in. She picked up a piece and said, "Hattie, I'll help you." Hattie grabbed the piece and responded, "No, don't touch it!" Opeibea said, "Why?" Hattie answered, "Because I hate you."

Hattie does not hate Opeibea. They play together every day and have a great time. She just wanted to play alone at that moment, and she said what she thought would make Opeibea leave her alone, without considering Opeibea's feelings.

But Opeibea did not leave her alone, nor did she strike back after the hurtful comment. With a concerned expression on her face, she gently said, "Is it me?"

This exchange has stuck with me, and I keep thinking what a good example Opeibea set, and how I want to be more like this 4-year-old child.


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