Advice from an Old Runner
Both of my kids are what you’d call “nice.” They try not to do mean things. If they see that another kid is hurt, they go check on him or her. One even stopped in the middle of a soccer game to check on one of his opponents that had tripped. When they see that someone is upset, they try to help out.
But one of them also has a rather powerful flair for picking on other kids – hs brother in particular. No, I’m not going to tell you which one.
The other day, the “nicer” of the two approached me. “I’m nicer than my brother, right Daddy? I’m nicer.”
His question was so unexpected that I couldn’t even think of a good way to stall. “What?”
“I’m nicer, Daddy. Isn’t that right? I’m nicer.”
There is no doubt that he is, in fact, nicer. He actively works at it in a way that you just don’t usually see. However, my spidey-sense was tingling. I couldn’t just say yes. “Um…”
“I’m nicer, aren’t I?”
I leaned in close and spoke quietly. ”Listen, when you’re winning a race, you don’t look back at the other runners. All it does is slow you down.”
It was his turn to wear the blank expression. “Huh?”
“When you’re racing, never look backwards. It just slows you down and lets the other guys catch up. Trust me. I know.”
His blank expression changed to a broad smile. His eyes twinkled. His little teeth glistened. He laughed.
“You get it?” I said.
“I get it, Daddy.” He chuckled. “I get it!”
“Good,” I said. Then I left him there, still grinning so broadly that he was having trouble standing up.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?