When My Kid Met the “Mean Kid”—and the Golden Rule—On Halloween

How we implemented one Golden Rule for Halloween!

One year, Halloween unfolded a bit differently than expected and we learned how to practice the golden rule- do onto others as you would have them do onto to you. My son had picked out an awesome “Flash” costume to wear in his Kindergarten parade at school… because of course my kid is as fast as they come! I volunteered for the fun celebration, and many of the kids had the cutest costumes and were crazy excited for the party!

Except one child.

This child was the one kid my son didn’t like very much at all. My son had complained several times that this boy had called him all sorts of names and was “mean.” As the kids and I often do, our discussion of people who are mean turns into how they must be hurting. I try to guide them in understanding the background behind the mean behavior. It never excuses the mean, it just explains it. We talk about loving others as we would want to be loved, despite how they treat us. And that’s a doozer of a lesson. Am I right? But perhaps, the most important one of them all.

So back in the classroom, all the kids were scurrying around taking turns to go into the bathroom and put their costumes on. The excitement was brewing and the energy was high…except for this one child. He was mad. This little boy, dressed in clothes that needed to be washed and layered crust around his nose- didn’t have a costume. As we walked the costume parade out around the school building for all the endearing parents to see, I caught up with this boy, and asked why he didn’t have a costume. He sighed deeply and then said, “I wanted one SO BADLY but my mama wouldn’t listen and she never got me one.”

I hugged the poor little boy and said how sorry I was. At the end of the party, I approached my son to share this news with him. I offered an idea, one that he surely would not easily accept. I challenged my sweet boy to give beyond measure. I asked him to give his beloved costume to the boy who was mean to him. He resisted as any five-year-old would, but then he grew warmer, as he processed the reality of this situation. He understood that this poor kid wanted so badly to have a costume- and didn’t. This sad boy who was angry at the world and mean to my son, had no costume like all the other kids in the class. Compassion stirred my son into action. He complied. He went to the bathroom to take his costume off to then give it away.

My son had several costumes to choose from in his bin of old costumes and some clearance play clothes at home. We were certainly not without. I explained that to my son, and as difficult as it was for him to appreciate this fact, he knew- at 5 years old- the value of generosity and the tragic reality of abundance versus scarcity. He knew that although this boy wasn’t nice, he still deserved to have a costume like all the other kids.

As all the kids were frantically packing up their backpacks with a sugar-induced frenzy at the end of the fun-filled day, I approached the teacher and asked permission to slip my son’s costume into the boy’s backpack. I wrote a note to go in there with it that attempted to soften the pride with which this might be received. My son and I approached the boy and told him he now had a costume for the night.

This angry little boy lit up with a big grin and said “Wow!” He took his backpack and walked to the bus line still smiling.  And as he stood waiting, I continued to look at him and smile. He kept glancing back at me with confused wonder.

Christine Carter
Christine Carter
Christine Carter is a SAHM of two pretty amazing kids. She has been writing at TheMomCafe.com for six years, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration and faith. You can also find her work on For Every Mom, Blunt Moms, Sammiches and Psych Meds, Mamapedia, Her View From Home, Huffington Post, MomBabble, and Scary Mommy. She is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness." You can follow Christine on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

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