My son who is five has begun to notice that people come in all shapes and sizes. And twice now he has commented that someone was particularly “wide.” Regrettably they have both been within earshot of the person he was referring.
The first time he said this, we were out shopping. I apologized profusely to the man and quickly pulled my son aside.
To him, a comment on stature is much like a comment on hair color or shoes. But, it is not. I explained to him that we only say kind things to people out loud and keep any thoughts that may be unkind or could hurt someone’s feeling inside our head.
For the next several days we talked about people coming in different shapes and sizes. From basketball players on TV to a kid on one of the teeny bopper shoes my daughter watches that is particularly short – we had several good conversations about people being different than us. We discussed (in a preschool way) that it is cool to have friends who are different, and that everyone has feelings and we should be nice to them.
We covered it. Then we covered it again until I started to bring it up again and he rolled his eyes and said, “Mom. I know. Different is cool. Say nice things.”
I silently patted myself on the back, and thought we were done with this topic for a few years.
Then yesterday, we were walking out of a restaurant when a large man walked in. And he said, “That guy is even wider than the other wide guy.”
As I tried to crawl under the door mat while simultaneously apologizing, my daughter said the perfect thing. She looked at her brother and said, “Yep. And God loves him just how he is. And he looks so happy.” He agreed with his sister and told me he was sorry he said it out loud.
It may not have been graceful, but that moment made it a good day. The kind of day where I fall asleep knowing I’ve shaped both of them and they are becoming awesome people.
He said that he