Four-year old Flowergirl broke the plaster paw print casting that eight-year old Sunboy made at his camp session at the natural history museum. Yesterday he excitedly told us he would be making the paw print, and today he was pretty upset when it broke. “We’ll fix it if we can,” we reassured him.
I couldn’t help but wonder if the accident was, in part, a social experiment for Flowergirl. At her age, she is fascinated by the cause and effect of social interactions. I talked with her as we snuggled together in her bed.
“We are like an ocean,” I told her, “We rise together and fall together like waves. One happiness affects other happinesses just like one sadness affects other sadnesses.”
“How are we waves together?”, she asked.
“It’s like our feelings are attached to each other,” I said. “Some days I try to show happiness to everyone I see. I smile and people smile back. Before long, I realize that I really am smiling. Giving happiness made me feel happier. When I give happiness, I have happiness inside of me. The same is true of meanness. When I give meanness, I have meanness inside of me. Still, it’s not always easy to give kindness. This is something that grown-ups try to learn too. Try to think of a way to show your brother your kind heart tomorrow.”
“I will,” she said and fell quickly asleep.
I wonder what she will do tomorrow, and if Sunboy will be able to learn the hardest lesson of all: forgive as a way to find freedom, especially when you find that what has been broken cannot be fixed.