Leo was climbing a complicated web of ropes at a playground when an older child brushed past him.
“Excuse me, little kid,” said the older boy, who looked to be 8 or 9.
Leo didn’t hesitate.
“I’m not a little kid,” said our 5-year-old, reaching for a rope so he could climb higher. He said it in a matter-of-fact voice, confident but not confrontational.
The other boy stopped.
“Oh,” he said, giving Leo a once over. “Sorry.”
And then he was off.
I was standing nearby just in case Leo needed me, and I realized in that moment how much he didn’t. At his age, I would never have corrected an older child—or said a word to him at all. I might even have gone to play in a different part of the playground to avoid interacting with a bigger, older child.
As I watched Leo climbing higher and higher on the web, I prayed that he will always carry himself with that confidence. As a parent, you worry both about your child becoming a bully and also being bullied. What I saw in that moment gave me hope that he might be neither.
I pray that he can keep that peaceful confidence as he begins kindergarten next fall.