When my kids were little, I went to the school picnics held in June. Sometimes I’d play games with the kids, and sometimes I’d sit in the shade and talk to the teachers and other parents who had volunteered to chaperone.
One time, I sat next to First Grade Teacher, a long-time teacher in the school. During the course of the day, I watched how she handled the kids who came up to her.
One little boy had fallen on the playground equipment and scraped his knee. “Here,” she said calmly, “Let me get you some ice.” His screaming stopped as soon as she put the ice in his hands.
Another little boy said that his stomach hurt. “Here,” she said calmly, “Let me get you some ice.”
A little girl complained that the other kids were being mean to her. “Here,” First Grade Teacher said calmly, “Let me get you some ice.”
It didn’t matter what the complaint was. The treatment was the same. First Grade Teacher would sit the child down on the bench, provide a handful of ice, and talk in a soothing voice.
This all-purpose treatment seemed to work. After a few minutes of sitting quietly, holding the ice, and listening to First Grade Teacher’s soothing voice, the child would jump up and run off happily.
“Is the ice magic?” I asked teasingly, after the fifth handful of ice had calmed down yet another small child.
“Yep,” First Grade Teacher said. “And luckily, it’s cheap.”
She cast a watchful eye on the kids climbing about on the playground. “Most of the time, they aren’t hurt. They just need a little attention.”
I think First Grade Teacher retired a few years back, but I think of her every time I get an icepack out of the freezer and hand it to one of the little neighbor kids.