Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Lesson in Kindness

Lately, I have been starting my blogs in the same way .... "I haven't written in a long time."... I just did not want to spread any negativity.

However, even though this time might start off as negative, the ending is not. My family has been facing a difficult neighbor who has taken it upon herself to be the biased-one-sided-playground police. 

I haven't written my feelings down because she has friends whom I know.... but today, after this morning's conversation with my son, I decided otherwise... This is my blog after all and well... her identity is safe, granted that I do not mention names. 

My son has been facing a rather difficult situation for the past few months. He tends to express himself in a rather loud voice especially when someone says mean things to him or if he disagrees with the other kids. We have spoken to him a few times about lowering his voice and how there are different strategies that he could use to face a distressing situation such as name calling or alienation. We role played responses and a variety of scenarios. We practiced and practiced... but to be honest, he is an eight year old child and it will take a few mistakes to learn the lesson.

The policewoman of the compound has decided, some time ago, that Jad is a trouble maker. Failing to look at both sides of any story, she targets him and his loud voice. Believing that because he is the loudest that he is immediately the one at fault. 

Now, I am not saying that my child might not have been wrong in any one of these episodes BUT....there are always antecedents to any behavior or incident and one needs to look at it all and if an adult would like to talk to a child (especially not their own) then calmly, since we are trying to set an example... am I right?  

Well, after several times of Jad being shouted at, the whole situation came to a head when the policewoman decided to take the advantage of us not being at home and yell at him to come to OUR door so that she could shout at him.... this is Jad's safe haven... his safety zone... one does not come to the door and yell into a neighbor's house... out of respect for its residents. 

On my way home that afternoon, she stopped me to complain about Jad and his behavior saying that he was rude and that he keeps shouting at her girls. When I got home, I discovered from my nanny what she had done and approached the policewoman again to explain to her calmly (since I am setting an example for my kids) that this is not done and it should not happen again..... 

It did...  a few days later... but this time to my daughter...

So I picked myself up and went to her... again very calmly, as I had guests in my house and my husband was on a trip at that time and therefore could not handle it himself. 

This time though, she sent her husband to chat. I explained to him that she needs to look at both sides of the story, that many times I have come home to hear their girls saying means things to Jad or to Mina as well and that it is not just my kids who are at fault. I explained that they are kids after all and they will make mistakes... that my kids are neither innocent nor angels but that their girls are neither as well.... and that this is the last time she shouts at my kids ever again.... 

My girl showed kindness when she helped their daughter find her skip rope immediately after she was told to "shut up!" (by the daughter) and then yelled at by her mother. 

This morning, I asked Jad how things were with the neighbors' children and reminded him of the strategies we worked on and role played. He said that he helped one of the daughters, who had told him to "shut his mouth" a few times,  to find her sparkly orange ring. He surprised me that he could still show such kindness. He knew how to look out for a "friend" and ignore the past altercations.

Despite them being at the receiving end of the yelling and the harassment by the policewoman, my children continued to show kindness by helping out a "friend". This authority figure will never touch that part of them. I so hope that the future challenges they will face when dealing with others will never change that part of them. 

My children's kindness reminded me that I must always be setting an example for them. I must always be mindful of what I say to and do for others. I must remind myself that if I wanted my children to be respectful, kind, patient and calm, then I must also exhibit such behaviors in front of them and to them. 

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