What Do You See?

Photo taken by Sean Brown
Photo taken by Sean Brown

It wasn’t too serious. Serious enough though that it was brought to my attention. And I’m certain that it happens everyday on our playground. And I’m certain that it happens everyday on playgrounds everywhere.

But for some reason. On this particular day, it upset me more than usual. I am not really certain why. It just did.

When children play, it is not always perfect and it is not always pretty. Sometimes they do things they shouldn’t. I get it. They are still learning to handle their emotions and their feelings.

Yet, for some reason I was more upset than usual. When I questioned the young man about the event, he was very honest. I asked the young girl to tell me what had happened. She told me that she simply tapped the boy on the shoulder because the teacher needed to speak with him. That was it.

He responded by turning around and hitting her in her arm. It made her sad. Why wouldn’t it? She had done nothing to deserve his aggression.

I think that is why I was so angry. Furthermore, here was a girl who I know is a model of kindness, being hit simply because she had tapped a classmate on his shoulder.

The young man knew he was wrong and I could tell that he felt remorse for what he did. Truth be told, he is one of the best big brothers I have ever seen. The way he looks after his four-year old sister is wonderful.

I decided to try a different strategy. I didn’t read him the riot act. I didn’t get loud. And I didn’t remind him of the school rules. I am sure he could recite them from memory.

I told him to turn and look at the girl he had hit. They were sitting only a foot or two apart. And I waited. For to him, what must have seemed like an eternity. I wanted him to really see her. Then I asked him,

What do you see?

A girl.

No, look carefully. What is she?

She is beautiful.

What else?

She is kind.


And don’t you ever forget it!

I truly believe with all of my heart that he got it. There was no smile when he spoke. And his words were very sincere.

Do I think that he will ever hit someone again? Of course! He’s a kid. But do I think his perception of girls and of others might start to change, just a little bit? I do.

We must work hard to help our children see the beauty in others so that they start treating others more beautifully. Let’s start by helping them see the beauty in themselves.

The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.



  1. Reblogged this on mpfratesi's Blog and commented:
    helping another to be their best speaks volumes. I have a lingering thought…
    His anger came from somewhere. Kids hold a great deal inside … compassion and trust may help him understand where it comes from and perhaps an outlet to open up. I certainly wish more people understood the big picture as you so clearly do. Best wishes ~

    • Thanks for the comment and I’m honored for the reblog. I agree that kids hold so much in. I’m working on getting our kids to express and work through their anger in productive ways.

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