Get the Whole Picture

The other day I was sitting in the office of a center and I heard a commotion in the hallway with a group of children and a teacher who was hitting breaking point. I jumped up to help.

What was happening? One of the children had whollopped another child. No, seriously. She had kicked, hit, and scratched another child. Totally inappropriate, but I had a feeling there was more to in than that.

To the teacher’s surprise, I got down on the level of the child who did the hitting, kicking, scratching and asked her, “What happened?”

She immediately refocused and very calmly told me, “Emily kicked me Miss Jen. She kicked me on my knee.”

She then glared at Emily and said, “I don’t like Emily. She’s a poophead.”

Okay, here’s what I responded, “You don’t have to like Emily, but name calling is not appropriate. You don’t have to like her, but we do all have to get along. Let’s talk about what to do when someone kicks you. Should you kick back?”

”I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do.”

Here’s the deal. This little girl really DOES talk like that and is very mature in her speech patterns, too mature at times. However, I believe her. I believe that the other child kicked her first. Rather than getting the whole picture, the teacher was very quick to jump and assume what was happening and was ready to have her “stand by the wall by yourself” without getting a clear picture of everything that happened.

Yeah, we need to look at the entire picture, not at what we assume. We also need to look beyond the actions. Was it wrong to kick, hit, and scratch? Yes. But the bigger picture was she was defending herself. Sure, she needs to find a better way to defend herself, but that’s what we’re there for.

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