By A. Hysock, P. Berman, & K. Hecht
My mom told me good friends help. I can tell Tommy is scared. I know something that might help.
Davy is sitting next to Tommy at the library. They had just heard a mom read a book about the 4th of July. To make the book more interesting, the new librarian had turned on a video that had fireworks in it. Davy’s mommy had warned him that fireworks could make very loud sudden noises. When the video came on, he jumped each time he heard the firework explode but it was a fun scary. He felt something. Tommy had been sitting right next to him, but now he didn’t feel Tommy’s arm up against his.
Davy looked over at Tommy who seemed to look shrunk into the floor further and further. He didn’t seem to be feeling scared…in a fun way. Tommy’s face had a frozen look on it. Davy remembered that Tommy’s house had caught fire during a thunder storm. Their family were renting an apartment now. It would take a long time for their house to get fixed.
Davy whispered in Tommy’s ear, “fireworks aren’t like thunder,” your apartment won’t get hurt. Tommy turned to him immediately whispering, “are you sure?” “Yes, Tommy I am sure. My mom explained the whole thing to me yesterday. They set the fireworks up far away from people’s stuff. Then, only people who really know what they are doing touch them. If we go to see real fireworks, we won’t be allowed anywhere close!”
Tommy was sitting up straight again, but he still didn’t look like his regular Tommy self. Davy tickled his hand and said, “this is how my mom explained it. She said it was like the difference between hitting your hand on the table, accidentally- it hurts, it feels bad- and having your mom tickle your hand. You know she is going to grab your hand and she is stronger than you. You are going to tell to stop but you don’t really mean it- it feels good, it’s fun and you don’t want it to stop.”
“Why is this like fireworks?” Tommy said, giving Davy his, “don’t tell me fibs” look. “Lightening just happen due to weather. No grownup is planning it. Fireworks happen (like tickling) because a grown up is taking charge and making it a fun, exciting time. “Are you going to the fireworks Davy?”
“Yes, we are all going to a park near our house fun. It will be the best type of scary. I am going to sit in my mom’s lap so when the bangs make me jump, she can hug me to remind me I am safe.” “Do you think my mom would let me sit in her lap at the fireworks?” Tommy asked. “Sure, she would if she isn’t already holding your baby brother.” Tommy looked sad about that.
Davy had a new idea and whispered, “why don’t you ask your mom if your brother could sit in your lap while you are sitting in hers? That way you can help keep him in the scary but fun zone!” Tommy shoved Davy over. It wasn’t the mean type of shove. It was the fun shove of a friend.
Have you ever tried to help someone, and then found that this person passed the good help on to someone else?
Consider looking around today and finding a personal advocacy step to take to make a small moment better for someone else. If you live in a city, you could have quarters in your pocket and feed a meter that is about to expire. If you are walking into a busy building, you can hold the door open for the person behind you and wish them a good day. If you are in a rush, and someone seems to be holding you up, you can slow yourself down into mindfulness and ask how their day is going and notice how it makes you feel to do it.