Diplomatic Childsplay

When I was  a child in kindergarten, I used to sit next to a boy called Brian.  Brian, was certainly not the Messiah, but he was a very naughty boy. In fact, Brian was a bully. He would make a mess when it was time to tidy, he would snatch all the other kids’ toys and would stand on the desks and shout “I am going to be naughty”. Worse still, he would set out with intention to hurt the other children.  He would scratch, hit, pull hair and even bite, all with a gleam in his eye telling that he was enjoying every minute.

Because this is what he wanted to do – these weren’t the actions or reactions of a child seeking anything other than attention, and to bring carnage and distress. When he snatched your toy, it was not because he wanted to play with it, it was because he didn’t want you to. When he made a mess, it wasn’t because he liked mess, it was because he wanted to disrupt the order of everyone else’s day. And when he shouted ‘I want to be naughty’, he was telling the truth. Plain and simple.

After too many gouged and teeth marked toddlers, Brian was called for an assessment. But needless to say he refused to listen to the nursery teachers, he ignored the school secretaries, and spat at the local education board head when he came to visit. Moreover, threats went unheeded; being made to sit on his own, not being allowed a treat after milk time, and not being allowed to play with certain toys – none of this made a difference to Brian’s terrible behaviour.

So the teachers decided to make a deal with Brian. They decided that he was allowed to sit with the other children again, but he was only allowed to hit two children a day, and only bite one child a week. They allowed Brian to have a chocolate wafer with his milk, as long as he only tipped out three boxes of toys when it was time to tidy up. And he was allowed to shout “I’m going to be naughty”, as long as he didn’t stand on a desk.

Oh no wait – that is silly.  They removed him from the kindergarten until he could behave properly.  After all, who did Brian think he was? Iran?

About the Author
Jason Pearlman is a strategic consultant and media advisor specializing in communications and campaigns.