I once remember a wise man (who is actually my good friend Jared Newlun) say to never make a promise (aka - threat) to a child and not follow through. And so it was today at Mckenna's preschool that these words of wisdom came flooding back to me in the moment when I began to say, "Mckenna, if you don't apologize to Trevor for kicking the cars he was playing with, you won't get to ride the ponies that your teacher paid to come to school today."
Now, up until this point, at least for a few weeks, I had known that ponies were going to be there that day and wanted nothing more than for my daughter to be able to ride them. In that heated moment, I decided that I was in control and if Mckenna didn't want to do the right thing, and apologize then she certainly didn't want to ride the ponies.
My heart was crushed when the words spilled forth out of my mouth. I had to place all my faith and hope in my little girl that she would choose the right. Not only so she could learn the principle of compassion but also so she could enjoy the ponies later.
She fought me with a fury that I had only seen previously in her mother. Stubborn as all hell and just as determined. About half of her class had already had their turns on the pony and her name was called to go next. She still hadn't said sorry.
I excused us from the classroom and Mckenna and I had a little talk outside. I told her again that if she didn't want to say sorry then she didn't want to go on the ponies. Secretly and earnestly I was pleading and yearning in my heart that she would break, all the while trying to communicate to her with my body language and facial expressions that I didn't care if she got on that blasted pony or not.
Parenting & teaching correct principles = mental anguish (sometimes)
Final, after asking many times if she was ready to make restitution she agreed. We made our way back inside and crossed the room to Trevor. By this time just about all the kids had taken their turns on the ponies and Mckenna's turn was coming (and going) fast. As we both stood there facing Trevor in an eternity of silence, I found myself craving a pair of vocal pliers to pull that five letter word up through Mckenna's timid body and out of her vice clamped mouth.
When it seemed that almost all hope had been lost along with her pony ride, Mckenna offered a muffled 'stharry' into the corner of her elbow aimed at Trevor. She had barely redeemed herself and her pony ride.
The whole ordeal had taken it's emotional toll on her. She almost 'lost it' a few times before even sitting on the pony for a picture and also while she was on him, but that was mostly to Oreo swatting at imaginary flies and moving around alot more with Kenna on him that any other time. The pictures will turn out awful. That was very frustrating to me, you know? We worked so hard to make it all the way here, now here is a place that we don't want to be. Poop. She did better when it came to riding around on Ranger though.
Then we went to the library. Fun!