Eight year old boys can be wise.
When I sat in a meeting with a troubled child who is exhibiting violent behavior in the classroom, we asked him who his friends were. He named two boys who he does, in fact play with and ask to be partnered with frequently. These same two boys, however, are the targets of his relentless teasing. He has gotten into verbal and physical fights with them almost every day.
And yet, every day, each one of them chooses to spend time with the other. They ask to be partnered, they sit together during independent reading, they build together at recess.
It bothers me that they can treat each other so poorly.
But today, I looked at one of the boys who gets so frustrated by his friend’s bad behavior that he has to give himself a time out, and I saw strength. He seems to have a better understanding than I about the struggles his friend is having; that his friend is more than this recent bad behavior.
So tomorrow, my goal is to see my troubled student the way his friend sees him. To wipe the slate clean once an outburst has passed, and remember that he is more than this.