A little kid, just 7 years old, took a long time choosing his book in the library. By the time he decided to come to the checkout, he was last in line.
He reaches out his arm and pushes the little girl in front of him aside, then behind him.
I see it, and politely tell him he can go back to where he was, waiting his turn and practicing his patience. This little guy, who is usually pretty calm and pleasant, flips a switch and yells, “I CANNOT BE LAST. I AM *NOT* LAST!”
In my super-calm unruffled voice, I tell him to go back to the end of the line and wait his turn. I tell him there’s nothing wrong with being last. Everyone takes a turn being last once in a while. (Unless it’s me at CrossFit, where I am last most of the time!)
“I CANNOT be LAST! My MOM says LAST is for JERKS. LAST IS FOR LOSERS! MY MOM SAID!”
I looked at this 7 year old, consumed with rage and fear, screaming in the line at the library.
I was stunned. Shocked. Where does this come from?
And told him, calmly, to take a spot at the end of the line. He scowled at me over his mask, then he went to the back.
After he checked out his dinosaur book, he left the library. He had joined his class line safely in the middle, in his “line order” spot. His tone totally changed. He twittered out of the media center, chatting with friends. Nothing to be mad about if you’re not last.
I stared at the door. What had I just witnessed?
Then I wondered, what had this kid witnessed to make him act this way? Did his Mom or Dad say that to him? To a brother? To a father? An uncle? Was it in a totally different context? Surely whoever said it hadn’t yelled at people for standing in line…
Maybe that person was yelling at the TV. At a NASCAR race…? Who knows.
Whatever it was, this young man took it to heart and head. When push came to shove (literally), he would NOT be last since he is NOT a loser.
So many lessons we can learn from this, out of the mouths of babes. What does this child teach you?