We have three family rules:
- Be Safe
- Be Kind
- Be a Good Listener
Three simple rules that cover any situation that might possibly arise. Three simple rules that my first grade son loves to challenge when he gets in a “mood.”
“You’re a little baby,” he taunted A, one of his three-year-old sisters, during dinner.
“Am not!” A shot back.
“Are, too!” C retorted.
“C, be kind,” I cut in. “We don’t call names in our family.”
“I don’t care about the family rules! Baby, baby, baby.”
I took a deep breath, feeling the anger rise but willing it down. “C, be kind. If you’re upset with A about something, you can tell her without calling names.”
“But she’s a baby!”
“Be kind. What. Do. You. Want. To. Tell. Her?” I managed to get out, but I was close to the edge.
All of the sudden, P, A’s twin sister, stood up on her chair. I reached out to take her arm, worried she might fall, but she had a message to deliver. “Yeah, Bubby!” she declared. “What’s my underwear say? Be Kind!” Then she lifted up her skirt to show us that her underwear did, indeed, proclaim our second family rule: Be Kind.
We all dissolved into giggles around the table as P stood there pointing to her pink underwear. Satisfied that her message had gotten across, P sat back down on her chair. As we laughed out loud, all of our negative emotions melted away and dinner continued as uneventfully and enjoyably as possible. Sometimes kids just need to hear it from another kid.