I read a story on Monday. It was about a little girl whose day began badly. She woke up late and had to rush to get ready for school. She had wanted to get dressed in her favourite pink princess outfit, but her big sister laughed at her and called her a baby!
By the time she got downstairs (now dressed in a rather more appropriate-for-school outfit of sweater and jeans – and odd socks – oops!) she was too late for the toast that had been made for her (her greedy brother had eaten it!) How he laughed!
So you can imagine that by the time she got to school she was feeling pretty fed up…..
And things got worse. When she got to school, of course classes had already started. Her teacher called her a slow-poke and all the children laughed at her! At playtime, some of them even teased her. ‘Slow-poke, slow-poke,’ they laughed, as they poked her in the arm.
How much better for the little girl’s sister to have helped her get dressed! How much better for her brother to have poured her some cereal! How much better for the teacher to have been a bit more understanding! How much better…..
I had started the story with a perfectly-shaped pink heart on my knees. But each time someone laughed at or said something bad about the little girl, a piece of heart was torn off. By the time the story ended, the heart was completely ruined!
Béatrix though, glued it back together like a jigsaw puzzle…..
and we decided we would display it in the classroom in order to remind us how sad such thoughtless words and actions can make us feel. After all, we don’t want anyone to be laughed at or teased or in our class.
I asked ‘How much better…..?’ and actually we already know the answer. We have seen the effects of saying something that makes someone feel good about themselves; of paying someone a compliment. Of course you remember your own beaming smile and the warm fuzzy feeling as someone tells you they like your painting.
As it happens, Yousouf was paying a little more attention to Béatrix as she worked at rebuilding the heart – than to the discussion at the end of the story. But actually I don’t mind all that much. Because he leaned towards her as she glued the last piece in place and this is what he whispered in her ear. ‘Béatrix; tu es une artiste!’ And do you know what? He quite made her day! I know this because she then leaned towards me and told me what he had said. And she smiled, a broad beaming smile. And I bet she felt warm and fuzzy inside too!
I wonder; do you think you can make someone’s day by paying them a compliment?
And…..how do you think that would make you feel?
Warm and fuzzy all round I’ll bet.