Bode seemed super sad yesterday afternoon. When I asked him what was going on, he explained to me that his friend didn’t want to sit with him on the bus ride home from school.
I’m not typically the type of parent that wants to go track down the kid and bribe him into making things right, or threaten to humiliate him in the cafeteria the next day. I know most of us wouldn’t actually do that, but I get that impulsive emotional reaction. And, I’m not judging anyone that does…mostly because my reaction is equally questionable in a different way.
I’m more the type of tough love parent that immediately wants to start interrogating Bode on what he did that made his friend feel like that, or using this as a lesson to teach him why the way he sometimes treats Harley Love is so wrong and hurtful. So, basically, kicking the poor kid while he’s already down.
But, I heard Brene Brown talk recently about this very situation with her own children. She reminded people that often what a kid, or any other person or that matter, needs is for you to simply “sit in the dark” with them.
When someone is willing to trust you enough that they can open up to you about whatever it is that’s bringing they’re dealing with, what they’re trusting you with is your ability to sit beside them and help them feel like you’re there with them. Like they are not alone. Like their experience is justified and worthy of the pain they’re feeling.
I love this because it forces me to keep the focus on the other person, not on myself.
What Bode needed most was for me to confirm he fact that, yes, it hurts your feelings when someone doesn’t want to spend time with you…especially in the way that another Kindergartener would likely put it into words with, “NO, I don’t WANT to sit with you, Bode!” I mean, imagine if you asked a friend to get a coffee with you and they responded like that?
I just need to remember to stop and think: what is it that this person needs the most right now? It’s about them, not me.