My six-year-old daughter has a friend from her class who lives in the same neighbourhood. So, they have a lot of playdates together outside school hours.
A few weeks ago, her friend, J, refused to have a playdate with my daughter, M. Her mum said the girls had a fall out at school because M said something that upset J.
I spoke to my daughter to find out what she said. She honestly couldn’t remember. Then, I spoke to J’s mum and she told me what M said, according to J. I asked my daughter again to try and understand why she said such thing and my daughter said she didn’t remember saying it.
Fortunately for me, my daughter is only six and I know when she is lying and when she is not. In this occasion, I believed her. My daughter was a bit teary because she wanted to play with J and J was too upset to play with her.
I am her mother, so naturally, my instinct told me to comfort her. So this was what I said, “Don’t worry, darling. Give J some time to get over it.” What she said to me the next moment caught me off my guard. It wasn’t something I was expecting to hear at all.
My daughter said, “I will say sorry to J even though I didn’t say those mean words that she was talking about. I think J will feel better when I say sorry.”
I have always taught my daughter to say sorry when she makes a mistake or if she has done something wrong. I have never taught her to say sorry to make someone feel better if she has not done anything wrong.
I have always taught my daughter to say sorry when she makes a mistake or if she has done something wrong.
Then, I realised something about myself. I am an Enneagram Type One personality and my basic desires are to be good, to have integrity and to be balanced. I don’t like to be wrong and I associate the word “sorry” with being wrong.
Anyway, I wanted my daughter to do what she wanted to do so I recorded her saying sorry to J and sent the recording to J’s mum.
A few minutes later, I received a recording back from J’s mum. It was J saying “Thanks, M!” I could hear a happy cheery tone in J’s voice and I couldn’t help but smile.
My daughter then looked at me said, “See, I told you mummy, all I needed to do was say sorry, and now J is feeling better. We can have a playdate again!”
And sure enough, the next day, J came over bright and early to have a playdate with M. And all is good in their world.
I am sure you’re probably wondering what exactly my daughter said to her friend at school? It was, “You are not my bff anymore.”
I learned something very valuable that day, from two six-year-old girls.
To be kind is sometimes more important than to be right.