Last night at a neighborhood barbeque, my neighbor and I pulled apart our screaming, kicking, crying three year olds. The argument was over a feather. The usual chorus of 'It's mine!' 'No, it's mine!' rang through the back yard. We removed to our separate houses where I sat down with Noine and asked what had happened. As she clenched the feather in her tight little fist she told me Mia had found it while they played in the yard; but now she needed to keep it because it was so beautiful. We talked about how if Mia had found the feather then it was really hers. The right thing to do would be to give it back even if it was so beautiful. I also pointed out that if the roles had been reversed Nonie would be pretty sad and angry with her friend. We went next door and Nonie returned the feather politely and calmly without fuss. As we walked away holding hands it felt really good to be able to look down at her and say 'Nonie you did the right thing.'
I think too often as a parent I have a tendency to want to 'fix' problems for my children. To fix the crying and handle the problem myself because it's faster, easier. (Why I always feel in a hurry is a really good question for another day) But in the three minutes it took to ask what the problem was and help her solve it, we both learned a lesson. I count that as yesterdays small victory. I look for them everyday. Then when I make a mistake I can remind myself that I am human too and there will be another small victory later in the day or tomorrow.