Two eight-year-old boys shooting baskets in the driveway of one of their homes. All is well- until it wasn’t.
One boy throws the basketball purposely and directly at his friend’s face. His unsuspecting friend feels the sting of this action, loses his cool, begins to cry, and goes after his friend/foe, tackling him down onto the ground.
His friend begins to cry. Now – two boys sitting in the driveway in tears.
Dad arrives on the scene. “What the hek is going on?” he asks his son.
Listening to his son’s response, the dad says “okay” and then turned and listened to why the other boy was crying. “Okay”, said the dad.
Then looking at both boys, Dad said, “Well – are you finished?”
Both boys agreed, jumped up and resumed shooting baskets and laughing together.
Listening to both sides -( listening is the operative word here). Giving them each their say and listening. No lectures, no judgements, no time-outs, no guilt.
Just “Are you finished now?”
Sometimes the best lesson in mending disputes is just having each side heard.
This was a teachable moment – but not one Dad needed to personally take on. Just by asking and listening to each boy, the teachable moment was their own.