When I went to pick Lily up from school yesterday, she left the building chewing her nails and glaring at the world. I knew something was up the second I saw her face. I'm usually greeted by a running leaping hug and an onslaught of facts about her day at school. So I asked her what was up.
So I let it be for a minute and tried to ask her how her day had been, how her Frozen practice with Janiyah had gone (they've been learning the choreography to "Let It Go" for weeks now!), and what she had for lunch. She stayed tellingly quiet.
So before we hopped in the van with her sisters we took a seat on the bumper and I reminded her that she could tell me anything she wanted and I would try to help her work through her feelings.
So after a long pause, the flood gates opened.
She'd found a treat at school and assumed that it would be OK to eat it without asking if anyone had lost it. When her friend had noticed that her treat was gone, and saw the wrapper sitting on Lily's desk at the end of the day, she had called her a thief and told the teacher that Lily had stolen from her. It was the end of the day, so she was told that she would be talked to about it in the morning, and she didn't have the chance to speak with her friend either.
I had a hurt little girl on my hands. She says she didn't mean to steal, and I believe her. Her feelings had been hurt by her friend who called her a mean name, and she knew she couldn't tell her side of the story until the next day.
She wanted to try to convince me that she hadn't stolen her friends lunch treat for the day, and I had to break the news to her that she had. Even if she hadn't done it on purpose or to be mean she had taken a friends belonging without permission. To help her understand I reminded her about the purse she had left out at recess a few months prior. She had been careless with it and the belongings inside and someone else picked it up and took it home, not because they wanted to hurt Lily and take her possessions, but because they didn't report it to lost and found or give it to an adult like they have been taught to do.
At this point she told me that she knew when she found it that she should have given it to her teacher, but that it looked really yummy and she chose to keep it instead. She told me she felt bad for hurting her friend, but she didn't think about her feelings until after it was gone and then she didn't know how to fix it.
We talked about the best ways to apologize. That when you say sorry, it shouldn't be filled with reasons for why you didn't mean to do what you did, but rather taking responsibility for your actions, and asking for forgiveness because (whether you meant to or not!) feelings were hurt.
We talked about making up for the lost treat, because in this situation she can. Sometimes you can't replace the object or fix the hurt because of a choice that you make, but when you can you absolutely should.
We talked about how this was a mistake today, and that making mistakes does NOT make you a bad person, but if tomorrow she does the same thing, it is no longer a mistake but a choice to disobey the rules.
This morning she made a beautiful card for her friend. The words were so sweet, true, and straight from her heart. She is such a giving little girl and it was hard to see her have to work through the fact that she'd hurt a friends feelings and taken from her.
She gave her friend the card this morning with 2 treats to replace the 1 she'd taken and told me before heading in that she was really happy that she could try to make up for it.
"I'm going to say sorry, and I hope that she forgives me. I understand if she doesn't right away though, sometimes it's hard to forgive, and I really want her to mean it when she does."
This little lady is always surprising me.
We couldn't be more proud of her.