My boy, he's a thinker. He is sensitive and cautious and careful. He likes to take baby steps over jumping in head first. He thinks before he speaks. He is kind and thoughtful. He is anxious.
Last night, he was having trouble sleeping. This isn't totally uncommon, especially since he napped earlier in the day. It was 10pm and he came to my room with a look of fear and shame in his eyes. Close to tears. I asked him what was wrong.
He said, "A friend at school told me to kick a little girl at recess and I did."
Tears welled up in his eyes. It being the night before going back to school after being home over 2 weeks, I knew this had been heavy on his mind for awhile now. He was worried about going back to school. He was so ashamed.
We talked about it. I asked for details. We talked about how we need to make "good choices" and if someone else thinks its okay to do something bad, but you know its not a good idea that its time to make a stand up for what is right. And sometimes people think its a good idea to not be nice to others, but that we (as in our family) do not believe in that sort of behavior. I was very careful with my words and supportive of his decision to tell me what happened. He has obviously beaten himself up over it and made himself feel bad enough, he didn't need me coming down on him too in a negative tone. I told him I was proud he chose to tell me. And that THAT was a very good choice. We discussed what to do next. I asked him what HE thought he should do next and we decided that even though this incident took place a few weeks ago, it was his job to make it right and apologize to her. He took it very seriously and we discussed it more at breakfast this morning.
To help him along, I went and had lunch with him at school. I asked him to point out the little girl and he did. He was still pretty ashamed. Once recess began he found her and apologized. He immediately came to me and cried, saying he did it. He wasn't made or upset. I didn't even "MAKE" him do it. It was his choice. I told him not to be upset because we can't change the past, but from now on we can strive to make "good choices". I told him how very proud I was of him and that even though the little girls response was "it's okay." that he and i both knew it wasn't okay what he did. But that all we can do it learn from our mistakes and move on. He was still pretty upset, but I reminded him it was time to move on.
It's funny how as much as you feel like you have to teach your children how to react and behave in certain situations, sometimes they have to teach themselves valuable lessons like this. And along the way, they teach you that you are doing a pretty good job at being a parent, even if you think you fail on a daily basis. We all fail and make mistakes, but the true test of a person's character is the decisions they make to make it right.