Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Good grief

It's not every day that a fit of tears and upset is the cause for parental pride. But I have to say I was quite impressed today by my son's display of emotion when a leap-frog accident resulted in an injury to his little cousin. A heel came down a little too closely to an eye, and there was a little blood and a lot of tears as the little guy started wailing. That's not a surprise -- this particular child has always been pretty free with the waterworks, legitimate injury or no. But what did surprise me was how remorseful my son was. He hovered over his cousin with tears flowing down his own face, saying "I'm sorry" over and over. And I couldn't help but remember how he never cried when he was this cousin's age, and how hard it has been for him to acknowledge cause and effect, especially when the effect is bad. There have been times when he would have ignored such an incident, or ran from it, or blamed it on his invisible dog. And there have been times when he has obviously been near tears but shrank from it, refusing to let the tears flow. Taking full responsibility and expressing it in such an emotional way is fairly new territory, and I was impressed by his reaction even as I felt bad that he felt so bad. For some kids, crying is the same old, same old; for others, a revelation.

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