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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Getting Through on a Hug

It’s kinda interesting that my last post quoted Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, because today I spoke at Marty Indian School in the southeastern part of South Dakota, a small community about two miles or so from Nebraska. The school is on the Yankton-Sioux Reservation.

As I was catching my flight from San Antonio, a mother with two children was in front of me trying to get through the TSA metal detector. She was carrying a baby and a little boy about two or three was following her.

Mom and the baby got through the scanning machine just fine, but, when the boy was asked to come through, he froze. He wasn’t crying, not yet anyway. Mom and the very pleasant TSA officer were standing on the other side trying to coax him and encourage him to come through. The more they talked, the more terrified he became.

A line was forming behind him, with me at the head of the line. He wasn’t going anywhere. He stood there, perfectly still watching his mother and baby brother. They could have been standing in the next world for all he knew. Close … but so far away.

Mom did a wise and loving thing. She put the baby in the stroller and stepped back through the screening frame. She got down on one knee, smiled, and opened her arms wide. He threw himself into her arms and she carried him through the detector.

The problem was solved. Not with harsh words. Not with an impatient posture. Not with a response to the building embarrassment that her son was holding up the line. She solved the problem by recognizing he was afraid.

When she removed the fear, he complied willingly. There can be a world of difference between “I don’t WANT to” and “I’m AFRAID to.”

Wisdom is knowing the difference.

James Sutton, Psychologist       

January 19, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment