Moving On from One Bad Recess

Yesterday, during recess, there was a minor altercation between some of Charlie’s friends. After hearing about it from the parents of one of the boys involved, we gently dug into Charlie for more details. What did Charlie see and hear? What part did he play in the incident?

Charlie: I tried to stop it when they started punching each other.

Cassie: Did YOU punch anyone?

Charlie: No, no, no!

Cassie: You need to tell me if you did.

Charlie: I didn’t. I promise you.

Cassie: I believe you.

Charlie: But because I got involved, I got in trouble.

Cassie: You got sent to the principal’s office too?

Charlie: No. Only the “punchers” went to the office. The rest of us had to sit on a bench until recess was over.

Cassie: Ahhh. Was it your teacher who saw it all happen?

Charlie: No. It was the “recess monitor.” They never know anything about what happens. They just swoop in and tell everyone to break it up and go to the office or sit on the bench.

Cassie: They have a lot of kids to look after during recess. They can’t see everything at once.

Charlie: Which is exactly why I tried to stop the fight.

Cassie: I see.

Charlie: How do you know all about this anyway?

Cassie: Your friend’s parents called me. They’re trying to get a full picture of what happened.

Charlie: They’re testing his story?

Cassie: Umm…I’m not sure I’d put it like that. They’re his parents. They’re concerned. They want to know as many details as possible.

Charlie: So he can be in more trouble? With the parents?

Cassie: I don’t know. His parents will handle it however they’re going to handle it. (Pause) One thing is for sure, though, your buddy’s probably going to feel a little tender tomorrow. You’d better be extra nice to him. Give him a hug or a pat on the back when you see him, you know?

Charlie: (sighing) That’s what I do every day, Mom. We always hug and give chest bumps at recess. We’re best friends. That’s what best friends do.

Cassie: I’m so glad to hear that. Chest pumps are better than punches. Words, even if they’re angry, are always better than getting physical or violent.

Charlie: I KNOW that Mom! And it’s chest “BUMP,” not “PUMP.”

Cassie: Right. That’s what I meant…chest bump.

Charlie: Best friends have to get involved, though, when there’s a fight. They have to try to break it up. They have to sit on the bench and get into trouble too. Best friends do that.

Cassie: I see what you’re saying. I think I agree with you, Charlie. But it’s important not to get swirled up in the drama….of fighting. You know what I mean when I say that, right?

Charlie: I guess.

Cassie: Be a leader, Char. Help to keep recess calm tomorrow. (Pause) Maybe you should meditate like you did at recess in the beginning of the school year.

Charlie: That was just one time that we did that.

Cassie: You could try it again.

Charlie: Maybe. Everyone will just drop it, though. Tomorrow’s a new day. They’ll forgive each other, Mom, and we’ll all just play again.

Cassie: I hope so.

Charlie: You don’t need to worry so much.

Cassie: Okay. I won’t.

(“Tomorrow’s a new day. They’ll forgive each other. We’ll all just play again.”)