3 simple words.
Could have gone either way.
But I’m happy to say it went smoothly.
I was at the local pool the other day with my two small children and they were exuberantly playing in the toddler pool. Splashing around there were giggles aplenty. And….they were outnumbered. Significantly. By some children who looked to be around upper primary age.
I’m trying to strike a balance at the moment with my 5 yr old son between protecting him ferociously and letting him work through tricky situations so that his resilience is gradually built. So I watched as these raucous bigger kids romped around my two tiny participants.
And then it happened.
My little boy went to climb the ladder.
The big boy ran at the ladder, but stopped, stepped aside, and let my boy take his time to get to his goal. His older mates patiently did the same.
My heart rate returned to normal and I realized I’d been holding my breath. It occurred to me what a lovely young boy was playing here and what a fine job his parents were doing.
So I sought out his Dad nearby. A big guy. Looked like a biker. Looked grumpy. Much bigger than me (I’m not small either!). Just a little bit nervous I was.
He was on the phone.
Tempted to walk away, a little voice inside me urged me on.
“Excuse me” I stammered. “I’m so sorry to interrupt but I just wanted to let you know that your boy is being gentle and kind. That’s not an easy job as a parent. You’re doing well.”
3 simple words.
He smiled and I rushed back to my seat.
As the kids and I were leaving he called out.
Feeling guilty about interrupting his call we walked back over and I apologized for speaking while he was on the phone.
“Not at all”, he replied, you know that’s the nicest thing I’ve heard in a long time.”
“I just wanted you to know how rare it can be to see such an energetic young boy be so careful around the little ones” I replied.
He smiled and thanked me a few more times.
I recon those words changed his afternoon.
I recon they changed his boy’s afternoon too.
They changed mine, that’s for sure.
I realized that 3 simple words can be the best thing someone hears in a really long time….
Teachers, students, parents, children, bosses, employees, spouses, friends….
Who do you know who might need to hear:
“You’re doing well.”