Thank you. When you hear those words, one thinks of it as a positive thing. Maybe someone gave a gift, provided assistance, a courteous gesture, or paid someone a nice compliment. Thank you is associated with goodness and gratitude.
It might surprise some to hear that “thank you” can be used as a shield for some negative things. In fact, it’s an extremely valuable tool. How?
I teach my kids that when someone says something mean, look right at them, smile a really obnoxiously authentic smile, say a really enthusiastic “THANK YOU!”, and walk away. If someone on the playground says, “You can’t play with us!”, smile and say an enthusiastic, “okay, thanks!”, walk away and find something else to do. We don’t need unkind people as friends. Pray for them, don’t play with them.
If they still get their little hearts broken and need some support have them hug it out when they come home. Tell them to go take a breath somewhere else, talk to a friend, teacher or go talk to the school counselor if needed to vent. When it comes to bullies, tears are fuel.
It’s really important that we don’t teach kids to bottle up their feelings which can have a whole mess of consequences. Openness is of huge importance here.
When my son was little, there were so many tears. Kids that didn’t want him to play with them, someone saying mean things… Once I taught him “thank you”, and he tried it, AND IT WORKED – he gained a new confidence. No more tears. He was so happy and free from the hurt of those things. He no longer worried what would happen if he was rejected, he no longer cared if someone teased him. It was a marvelous thing.
Unfortunately much of our world is not kind and we need to show bullies their games don’t work! Let’s teach our kids to say “thank you”.
If you ever find yourself on the flip side of this, and discover your child has done the bullying. Yes, your sweet little one is human after all. Trying to fit in and find his/her way in the social world. What to do?
You can start by create a never-ending dialog. Constantly ask them what kind of person they want to be in life and always remind them who God created them to be. Find out how they’d feel in someone else’s position if they were being made fun of. Talk, talk, talk and every time there’s a teaching moment – take it!
Parenting isn’t easy, life isn’t easy, but we can do our best to teach and model love, tolerance, respect, kindness and strength. GO FORTH AND SAY THANK YOU!
Check out this little kiddos story which inspired my post today.