One Thing

It’s back-to-school time for the girls. I was driving Emma to the office supply store this week for one last item on her school supply list. Thinking about the questions she would likely hear on her first day, I asked her to share one thing she would want her classmates to know about her.

Glancing back toward her car seat, I saw her looking out the window. I repeated my question, and she told me somewhat sternly that she didn’t feel like talking right now because she was counting stop signs and didn’t appreciate being interrupted. “Fair enough,” I thought, deciding to ask some other time.

At the store, we found the green scissors Emma had requested. Green scissors had become a big topic in our house. Upon opening her box with the prepackaged school supply kit the day before, Emma had looked in horror at the purple scissors included in the box. She said the purple scissors were absolutely horrible to cut with, and the green ones cut the very best. She knew this for a fact since she had tried all the scissors in her kindergarten classroom last year. Emma happily held her green scissors on the drive home. I had completely forgotten about my question until she said, “Okay, I thought about it. I know what I want people to know.” I turned down the radio and looked back at her.

“I want kids to know that I will be their friend,” she said. “Oh,” she added, “and I will share these green scissors with them if they got those crummy purple ones. Because those are the worst. No one should have to have those.” 

There are so many ways we can describe who we are – foods we like, places we’ve been, books we read, where we live or activities we like to do. Yet there is probably no better way to make ourselves known to others than to let them know –  upfront – that we are here for them. We are a friend. We will even share the best green scissors.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.