What kind of a winter is this?


“Imma, Imma! Look, it’s raining! I can bring my new umbrella to school today, right?” My son Yair was excitedly jumping up and down. Yes, he’s been waiting impatiently for more than a month to put his brand new umbrella to use, and now the first rainy day had arrived. Finally!

(In the picture- me & the umbrella in a sunny day)

This was about a month ago, and I can still use my fingers only- to count the rainfalls we’ve had this year! This winter hasn’t been very “wintery” yet!

In any case, let me tell you about my successful “psychological evaluation” that saved my son from being bullied at school on that very first rainy day:

 

I went to pick my son up from school. As we innocently walked out into the courtyard, a boy about two grades above Yair walked up from behind and started to pull on the hood of my first graders’ sweater. (not hard, but still! I didn’t want this to become a habit every day!) He kept at it, even after I put on my best “angry face” and told him to stop. (okay, I have to admit, the last time I tried to make an “angry face”, my son burst out laughing- I guess it looked more comical than angry) Now, too, my face just didn’t seem to do the job.

Here’s where my psychological evaluation kicked in: “what is motivating him here? I can see he’s not angry at Yair, he’s probably just bored, and looking for attention. Well, let’s see if I’m right- if I am, he will be just as happy to receive positive attention!”

Hastily searching for “something-with-which-to-give-positive-attention”, my eyes immediately zoomed in on the new-looking umbrella he was holding. (“Yes! Perfect!”)

“Is that a new umbrella you are holding? I asked smiling; my angry-face demeanor making a 180 degree turn-around. That did it! He nodded, and opened it up for us to see. “Ah, a blue one with dolphins!” I exclaimed. “Look Yair, it has dolphins on it!” I then proceeded to ask him his name, found out that it was also Yair, and we got into a whole conversation!

Needless to say, he never pulled on my son’s hood again, but I came out of the experience with a new understanding of human psychology: Genuine interest and warmth can go a long way (especially in the winter!)

I remember learning something similar in a class I took about 7 years ago: The Jewish concept called “Judging your fellow favorably”, does not only mean that when one see’s a Jew walk into a pork-serving restaurant, one should suppose that they only went in to use the restroom. It also means that when one’s spouse comes home and does not act towards any member of the family with much patience, one should try and look one step beyond- “what is the cause? Is he/she an evil person? No. They probably had a bad day at the office, are tired since they didn’t  sleep well last night, and of course hungry.”

The lesson learned by the above umbrella story is: Instead of making them an “angry face”-make a 180 degree turn-around, show genuine interest in their wellbeing, (and offer them something to eat!) It can go a long way!

 

“Imma, Imma! Look, it’s raining! I can bring my new umbrella to school today, right?” My son Yair was excitedly jumping up and down. Yes, he’s been waiting impatiently for more than a month to put his brand new umbrella to use, and now the first rainy day had arrived. Finally!

This was about a month ago, and I can still use my fingers only- to count the rainfalls we’ve had this year! This winter hasn’t been very “wintery” yet!

In any case, let me tell you about my successful “psychological evaluation” that saved my son from being bullied at school on that very first rainy day:

 

I went to pick my son up from school. As we innocently walked out into the courtyard, a boy about two grades above Yair walked up from behind and started to pull on the hood of my first graders’ sweater. (not hard, but still! I didn’t want this to become a habit every day!) He kept at it, even after I put on my best “angry face” and told him to stop. (okay, I have to admit, the last time I tried to make an “angry face”, my son burst out laughing- I guess it looked more comical than angry) Now, too, my face just didn’t seem to do the job.

Here’s where my psychological evaluation kicked in: “what is motivating him here? I can see he’s not angry at Yair, he’s probably just bored, and looking for attention. Well, let’s see if I’m right- if I am, he will be just as happy to receive positive attention!”

Hastily searching for “something-with-which-to-give-positive-attention”, my eyes immediately zoomed in on the new-looking umbrella he was holding. (“Yes! Perfect!”)

“Is that a new umbrella you are holding? I asked smiling; my angry-face demeanor making a 180 degree turn-around. That did it! He nodded, and opened it up for us to see. “Ah, a blue one with dolphins!” I exclaimed. “Look Yair, it has dolphins on it!” I then proceeded to ask him his name, found out that it was also Yair, and we got into a whole conversation!

Needless to say, he never pulled on my son’s hood again, but I came out of the experience with a new understanding of human psychology: Genuine interest and warmth can go a long way (especially in the winter!)

I remember learning something similar in a class I took about 7 years ago: The Jewish concept called “Judging your fellow favorably”, does not only mean that when one see’s a Jew walk into a pork-serving restaurant, one should suppose that they only went in to use the restroom. It also means that when one’s spouse comes home and does not act towards any member of the family with much patience, one should try and look one step beyond- “what is the cause? Is he/she an evil person? No. They probably had a bad day at the office, are tired since they didn’t  sleep well last night, and of course hungry.”

The lesson learned by the above umbrella story is: Instead of making them an “angry face”-make a 180 degree turn-around, show genuine interest in their wellbeing, (and offer them something to eat!) It can go a long way!

 

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