A Little Story–Calm One’s Temper with Children
Like all children, my kids were not always perfect growing up. It’s part of the learning process, although for parents, it does not always feel that way.
My wife and I never believed that hitting a child would improve his or her behavior patterns. It only sends the wrong message, and when an adult finds that necessary, I suspect it is the adult with the problem.
In any event, when my children became overwhelming to the point where they began to get to us, I told them a little story, and I share it here:
“Once upon a time, there was a head that went to school. He had no body mind you, simply a head.
One day, he went to school and a new girl sat at the desk next to him. He turned, looked at her, and smiled. She looked at him and said, ‘Ooh, I don’t like you. You’re nothing but a head.’
The little guy was crushed and hurried home from school. He went to sleep crying that night, and he began to pray. ‘Oh God,’ he said. ‘Make me something else. Anything but a head.’
It worked. The next day, when he awoke, he found he had become a foot. He hopped on down to school, jumped up on his desk, looked at the little girl, and she looked back at him. She said, ‘Ooh, I like you even less today than I did yesterday. You’re nothing but a foot.’ Once again, he was crushed.
So the moral of the story is: Quit while you’re a head!”
Now, the story doesn’t end there. I told it so often that my kids got sick of it. I must admit, however, that by the time I finished telling it, they had changed their undesirable behavior, and I had calmed down considerably. So I made it part of my life.
Three years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, my family had a big party at our house. There were fourteen of us for dinner, so we put three tables together and had a huge feast. During the meal, two of my adult daughters were going at it, so to speak. Give me a break. It was Thanksgiving!
Having had enough, I said out loud, “Did I ever tell you the story about the head that went to school?” With that, thirteen people replied in unison, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not during dinner, please.” My response was, “You’re right.”
And we all laughed, had a fabulous dinner, and built a great memory.