I was 24 when I got married.
That’s not old, I know, but considering the fact that I went to school in the state of Utah, where the median age for brides is the lowest in the nation, it felt a little old at the time. I share this biographical tidbit as a way of assuring you that I have been on my fair share of blind dates.
Blind dates are a funny thing. Someone, somewhere thinks you would just hit it off great with someone else they know. Sometimes it worked out great, as it did when my good friend set me up with her brother, who I now call my husband. Other times however, I was left thinking, “What exactly was it about this person that made you think of ME?”
My husband, a bachelor and public nuisance until he was 34, went on even more blind dates than I did. To him, it seemed that often the only thing taken into consideration while making the match-up was that that there was one boy and one girl, both single, roughly the same age. Match made in heaven, right?
Well, eventually it was, lucky for us, but more often than not it was far, far from it.
I’m guessing nearly every adult can relate to the ill-fated blind date. (The stories we could all share about worst dates…..) And yet, we often think we can set two kids of roughly the same age in the same room and they’ll hit it off, like a match made in heaven.
Not all kids will be friends, and that’s their prerogative. We can ask kids to be kind, to show respect, and to be thoughtful, but choosing friends is their job. This is the basis of the next section in Heather Shumaker’s book, It’s OK Not to Share (*affiliate link). Choosing friends is really their right, as Heather set out in the Children’s Renegade Rights at the beginning of the book.
This section explores a lot of sticky situations, and several I know I wrestle with myself.
Is it really OK for one child to say another can’t play?
Can we allow exclusive “Boys ONLY” and “Boys Keep Out” types of play?
Where do the worlds of inclusiveness and developmentally appropriate practice collide?
How do you encourage appropriate social risk taking and also support kids the inevitable rejection that comes from taking those risks?
How do you strike the right balance between social scaffolding and interference?
I’d love to hear what thoughts and questions you have as you read this section! I’ll use your questions in the comments section to guide the upcoming discussion with the author, Heather Shumaker, along with another fantastic blogger, Kristina of Toddler Approved! (Check out her post, Please Don’t Touch Me — really great stuff!)
The Google Hangout discussion will be embedded here as it’s completed. You can also find past reflections and discussions on this book here. Join in! Read Along!