My second son has electricity instead of blood coursing through his veins. He’s high energy, very athletic, bright and manipulative. When his sister was a baby, I told him I was going to call him “little bunny foo-foo” if he didn’t stop bopping her on the head. Of my three children, he’s not the one I would predict to be able to quiet and redirect an upset friend.
He has a close friend who sometimes gets very wound up and doesn’t know how to unwind. He can be triggered by something as simple as someone taking his picture when he doesn’t want it taken. His parents and school are working with him to help manage these triggers. Last year, at a family camp for Memorial Day, I noticed that when his friend was having a hard time, my son took his hand and walked with him. I love that they are still young enough for two boys to hold hands and walk. Whatever my son was doing and saying was calming his friend. We watched from afar – with a mix of shock and pride.
Last weekend, my friend (his friend’s Mom) shared with me that when they spent an afternoon together leading up to and including her son't birthday party, her son had a few difficult moments (they are happening less frequently) and my son really helped his friend. And they had a great time together before, after and during the birthday party. She was really appreciative and proud of my boy.
When we left, I told him I was really proud of him and asked him why he helped his friend. It would be understandable to walk away when someone gets wound up like that – a lot of people do. He said – at school, we talk about how important it is to help your friends. He needed my help. And he’s my friend.
I hope it stays that simple.