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Child Asks For Empathy
“How would you feel if I interrupted you when you were doing the Parade?” she asks. teacherly
In the last week, Kina’s favorite new sentence construction has been, “How would you feel if I [did what you are currently doing?]”. She always says this with an air of patient superiority, as if she’s been waiting to teach me a lesson about my behavior for years—which, in some cases, is probably true. The suggestion of empathy as a corrective tool is novel, but it’s hard sometimes to imagine what it must be like to be roughly six years old.
It is clearly overwhelming sometimes, and focus and respect are hard to come by. People are interrupting you constantly and not helping you in the ways that you expect (or need) to be helped. Weekends end too soon, and tasks leak into the joyful spaces that you’ve set aside for yourself. The fear and anxiety of the people around you can be hard to manage, and this hardly seems like something they, as adults, should be putting on you, but they’ve come to depend on you for comfort and approval—which is strange, since you are a child. You desperately want to be getting better and growing up, but it all goes so slowly. Nobody orders the right potatoes.
I guess I’d never thought of it that way before.