Today I was a chaperone for the Brownie Trip to the Maritime Aquarium. It was the culmination of their year-long study of water. While we were watching the seal feeding, I happened to be standing next to a preschool group. Most of the children were settled peacefully on the concrete steps of the tank except for one little boy who was about three.
He was having a terrible time. I am not sure what upset him but he was crying for his Mommy. He did not want his caregivers and was struggling against them. One older woman, kept telling him to stop - he was not being “nice”. I hate that. Nice has nothing to do with a three year old and a meltdown. Anyone who works with children knows this.
This little boy could not self-soothe and he was resisting efforts to restrain him from kicking and writhing on the floor. Clearly in despair, he looked at the older woman and said “I don’t like you!”. She replied back, “well, we don’t like you either! How about that!”.
Tears welled up in my eyes. Tears are welling up again right now as I remember her voice and the look upon his face. How dare someone say that to a child! How spiteful. Who is the adult? Who is the child? That boy needed comfort, love, understanding. Sticks and stones did not break this child today but words most definitely hurt him.
I wonder if his parents will ever know?