A 4 year old girl (let’s call her “Maria”) in a place of business was crying. Her mother had to leave to go work.
Finally, an older family friend (let’s call her “Lisa”) took her out for a walk – they were headed to a playground about 6 blocks away. Throughout the entire trip, the little girl was crying and wailing. Lisa was pretty calm – she was even laughing at Maria on some occasions. It wasn’t Maria’s misery she found amusing, but she found the wailing to be somewhat of a slapstick thing .
When they got to the entrance of the playground, Maria just stopped walking. She wailed, “I want my mommy!”
Lisa sat in front of Maria. She wiped her tears, “Maria. Maria, look at me.”
Maria stops crying.
“Look: I’m sorry I can’t give you your mother right now. And I’m really sorry that it sucks, but being with her right now is just not gonna happen.”
“So… You have a choice. You can either stand here and keep crying or we can go in and make the most out of it.
I’ll be right here with you whatever you want to do. But if you ask me: the first choice…kinda shit. Going to the playground tho… But then again: it’s up to you.
So what’s it gonna be, kid?”
Maria stood quietly with her head down.
“Come on, Maria. I don’t read minds.”
“Just point it out, girl. You don’t gotta talk.”
Finally, Maria lifted an arm and pointed to the playground.
“Yeeeeeeaaaah! Can I get a high five?”
Maria just kind of ignored her (with the hanging high five) and proceeded to make her way in.
At first, Maria was hesitant on using the slides. She needed a little encouragement. After a few minutes though, she just kinda started making her own decisions as to where she was gonna go and what she was gonna do.
She would occasionally turn her head towards Lisa before jumping into anything as a gesture of asking her permission. Lisa just kind of let her be.
And whenever Maria hesitated or showed a sign of fear, Lisa always assured that she’s got her back…
because Maria made a choice.
You have a choice.