Back when Dylan was about to start kindergarten, the plan was for him to take the bus home from school. Due to the completely ridiculous bus schedule our district came up with, yours truly ended up taking him to school and picking him up each day. Days like today make it all worth it.
When I picked him up today, I could tell something was wrong. He usually comes running out, with a big smile on his face. Today there was no smile, and he was walking very slowly, looking depressed. He got in the car and handed me the "big" hand (which says "Great day", and means that he did everything he was supposed to do) without his usual smile.
Me: "Hey! You had another great day! Good job, buddy!"
Me: "How come you don't seem happy about it?"
Dylan: "You know... Victor got an extra big hand today! He got an extra big hand THREE TIMES already!"
Me: (They get an extra big hand if the teacher sees them doing something kind, or if they are "extra" good) "Well, Victor must have done something nice for someone".
Dylan: "No, I think he got it for being extra good in chapel. I was good in chapel, but it's really hard for me to be extra good in chapel. It's SO long, Mom!"
Me: (Trust me. I've been there. I know what he's talking about). "I know, honey. It is long, and I'm sure it is hard. But, you were good! You've been getting big hands so many days in a row. You are doing a great job. I'm proud of you!"
Dylan: "I know, but I like to be the best".
Me: "I know you do, but you can't always be the best".
Dylan: "I know, but I didn't get ANY extra hands yet, and Ethan and Hannah got extra big hands today. I don't think I'll EVER get one!"
Me: "Honey, I'm sure you will! There's four and a half more months of school! You just have to do something nice for someone. I know you like to help people."
Dylan: "I do help people in my class, but the teacher asks me to do it, so I guess I don't get one if she asks me. Maybe sometimes I do something nice, but she doesn't even see it!"
Me: "Well, the important thing is not that she sees you, or that anyone sees you. The important thing is that you do nice things. The person you do nice things for will be happy and THEY will appreciate it. That is what matters."
Dylan: "Well, sometimes you do nice things for someone and they don't even say "Thank You" and you don't feel like doing anything nice for them anymore".
Me: "Yea, that happened last week, remember? When I freaked out yelling at you and Daddy, because I felt like no one ever thanked me for anything I do?"
Dylan: "Yea, Mom, but if I thanked you for everything nice you do for me, I'd probably have to thank you, like 20 times a day, because you do A LOT.
Me: "Wow, good talk".
(I'm kidding. It didn't end there. But, it WAS a good talk).