Friday, October 22, 2010
Hats Off to Ruby
I had a lot of time to think today. I waited nearly two hours for WheelTrans to pick me up. For the first 40 minutes or so, I enjoyed the wait, it was even productive. I was downstairs at work and chatting with some of the staff that were taking a smoke break. Things turned to work and it was OK because it all seemed so much easier, so much friendlier being outside in the sun. But they eventually left and I eventually began to grow restless with the wait.
My mind turned to the last time I saw Ruby. Joe and I had bought her a green space monster Halloween touque and she just loved it. She had worn it to school and all the other kids loved it too. She told me that they all wanted to try it on but that she didn't let them.
I began to talk to her about sharing and then decided to simply shut up. She at that moment was really enjoying talking about the scary hat and I thought that lessons about sharing could wait. Truth to tell, I figured in a 'grandfatherly way' ... 'right now I'm just loving her love the hat we'd bought her - let her parents do the moral training'. Normally I'm more motivated than that for little life lessons but sometimes it's fun just to be fun. So that's what I did.
A little later her dad talked to her about sharing and Ruby looked at him like he had the 5 eyes. But she paid attention even though her face was set to 'off'. I began to think that I should intervene and say something too but again decided to just let it go. Now it was kind of an instinct thinking 'I'm not getting something here.'
As I thought about it sitting and waiting I realized two things. First, I'm really pleased that she can stand up to peer pressure and simply say 'no' when she doesn't want to do something, doesn't want to share something. Second, the touque is such that you pull it down over your face and cover your nose with it. I don't think I'd WANT to wear it again if it made the rounds of 20 other kids. Could you imagine the build up of child slime on the inside of the hat. If I'd been thinking clearly, I'd have realized that the hat, in the way it was constructed, made it kind of a 'private' thing that you DON'T share with everyone. As it turned out she let them all touch it, pass it around and look at it, she just wouldn't let them put it on.
Pretty good call.
I realized that sometimes I'm so anxious to instill my values that what I would end up instilling aren't my values at all. Knowing when to shut up may be the most difficult thing to learn for a parent or care provider. Knowing when to let go and let the other person make a free and independent decision without fear of lecturing, moralizing or correction - is a skill.
I'm glad that I just kept my mouth shut.
I got home and Ruby called to tell us she'd got her Halloween card - complete with a bit of money, which she promptly told me she was going to share with her sister.
Seems she understands sharing well. Money, yep. Hats that go over noses, nope. Good call.