We read a book the other day (how many posts begin with those few words, I wonder; we read a LOT of books in Class 1b!) Angry Arthur, by Hiawyn Oram.
Like many small boys (and small girls) Arthur likes to watch T.V. On that fated day, he had decided he wanted to stay up beyond his bedtime to watch one of his favourite programmes.
‘No',’ said his mother.
‘It’s too late. Go to bed.’
‘I’ll get angry,’ said Arthur.
‘Get angry,’ said his mother.
And, you’ve guessed it; he did. Very, very angry.
‘That’s enough,’ said his mother, after he had wrecked the house. But it wasn’t.
In fact it wasn’t enough until his anger had become (via a hurricane, a typhoon, and an earth tremor) a universequake – and the earth and the moon and the stars and the planets and Arthur’s country, his town, his street, his house and his bedroom were nothing more that tiny bits in space.
And by that time of course, Arthur had forgotten what had made him angry in the first place!
Well, that got us thinking. How could Arthur (and his mother, it must be said) have stopped a tiny conflict (he wants to watch television but it’s already bedtime) from escalating into something (far far) worse.
We divided the class up into a group of Arthurs and a group of mothers (with the occasional father too - one or two potential mums absent at the moment!) and tried acting out the start of the story, with the idea of diffusing the ’getting angry’ situation before a universequake happens. And here is a taster of how we got on.
Arthur 1 (aka Yousouf) and mum Luna got stuck in a bit of a loop. ‘Go to bed’ said mum.
‘No,’ replied Arthur.
‘Go to bed!’ Louder.
‘No!’ Equally loud!
‘Go to bed!!’
And so it would have continued, had I not intervened!
Similarly, mum Lakeisha and Arthur 2 (aka Tim) seemed unable to resolve the problem, with this particular mum becoming increasingly exasperated with her son!
However, Arthur 3 (aka Yanis, whose real mum should take note here!) went meekly off to bed without question when mum Mélina told him he couldn’t watch any more television that evening!
‘Go to bed,’ said mum.
Mum Hiromi and Arthur 4 (aka Nicholas) led us beautifully into something I will share in a later post.
‘Go to bed,’ she told him.
‘I’ll get angry!’ And he did. There was the angry expression and lots of foot stamping – and Hiromi’s face showed real fear (more of which later).
Mum Tanisha went in for a compromise with her son Arthur 5 (aka Melchior).
‘You can watch it tomorrow,’ she told him.
‘OK,’ was the satisfied response. Easy, huh!
Then it was back to the drawing board (as it were) to analyse how we had each tried dealing with the situation – and the various outcomes we had achieved. We felt that maybe there was still some way to go. After all, from what I had observed, one or two mums would still be chasing sons about the classroom.
We noted that the most successful pairs had communicated with one another rather than just repeating and repeating the same old words louder and louder.
Here now are just a couple of our later ideas.
Tanisha felt the need to explain the reasons for Melchior not being able to stay up late. ‘Because tomorrow it’s school and you’re not supposed to be tired.’ Ha – that’s more like it! Melchior was perfectly happy to go off to bed once he had been reminded of that!
Mélina I am afraid, resorted to bribery. ‘I will get you something. A surprise.’ It worked of course, but what, we wondered, might that mean the next time Yanis wants to stay up late?
She wasn’t the only one of course. But I suppose as parents we have all been there…..