". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You Will Be My Friend, Or Else!

I was the parent helper at preschool yesterday. What that meant for Evan (my 5-year-old) was that he got to enjoy certain privileges: serving as line-leader, holding the pointer during calendar time, carrying the offering to chapel, ringing the bell for clean-up, and helping set out the snack. When it came to that last item, I think I may have learned something about my child today. You see, for most of the year we have been hearing about two other little boys in the class who Evan says are not his friends. These two, whom I will call Andy and Eddie (not their real names), are apparently bosom buddies, very close pals not only in preschool but out, and their closeness manifests itself in their wanting to play together and sit together to the apparent exclusion of the other children.

Now please understand: I see nothing wrong with this. Each of them is the other's security, and that is just fine. But Evan doesn't like it one bit. He wants to be friends with everyone, and he doesn't understand that their dependence on one another is not a personal rejection of him.

Well, today when it came time to prepare the snack, Evan made a point of asking me if he could set out the placemats (each student has one with his or her own name, and when the students come to the table they are to find their placemat and sit at that spot). I watched as he intentionally picked out Andy and Eddie's placemats, separating them at the table and putting his own placemat between theirs. When Andy and Eddie came to the table, he pointed out where they were to sit and plopped himself down between them. I guarantee that this was no accident: he thought his plan through ahead of time and then proceeded to execute it. Pretty smooth, huh?

I don't think I'm going to have to worry about this kid making a way for himself in the world. What do you think--do we have a future politician on our hands? Or maybe a campaign manager or (heaven forbid) a community organizer?

By the way, Andy and Eddie got their revenge. Midway through snack, each of them started calling Evan by the other one's name! You can imagine how that went over!

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