One morning at school, I saw a three-year-old boy crying on the playground: "I want my mommy! I want my mommy!"
He was inconsolable, I thought.
Then a teacher named Miss Fisher walked up to him:
Ms. Fisher: [With a soft rub on the boy's back and in a caring, empathetic voice] "You miss your mom?"
Shane, the boy: [Crying loudly] "Yes -- I want my mommy!"
Ms. Fisher: "You are sad and want your mom."
Shane: [Crying] "I want my mommy."
Ms. Fisher: "Sometimes when I'm at work all day, I miss my mom, too. Your mom will be here to get you right after lunch."
Shane: [Still crying, but more controllably] "But I want my mommy now."
Ms. Fisher: "Shane, I noticed that your t-shirt is a really bright blue, and the color matches the squares on your shorts" [pointing at his square-patterned shorts].
Shane: [Looking down at his shorts, whimpering] "I want my ... Blue?"
Ms. Fisher: "Yes, blue. Your shirt and shorts are a matching blue today. Did you know one of my favorite colors is blue? Look here at my hair tie, it has some blue in it. But only a little."
Shane: "Where?" [sniffling as he searches for the blue in Ms. Fisher's hair tie]
Ms. Fisher: "Here, you see. We both are wearing blue today. And look over there. Audrey [a nearby five year old] is wearing blue, too. She has on a blue skirt."
Shane: [Looking around to find Audrey on the playground] "Really?"
Ms. Fisher: "Yes, would you like to go see?"
After this, Ms. Fisher held Shane's hand and together they walked over to greet Audrey. There were no longer any tears in Shane's eyes, only an anticipation to see Audrey and her blue skirt.
Sometimes the easiest and most caring way to soothe the (seemingly) unsoothable is simply a little empathy and redirection.
Posted on 02/21/2016 at 09:20:00 AM