Once upon a time there was a sister and her younger brother who loved to play with each other. One day when they were playing, little brother was hurt and started crying.
Mother rushed into the room. Sister, with big eyes squeaked, “I don’t know what happened – It wasn’t my fault! “ Mother quickly sized up the situation saying “your brother is hurt – get an ice pack for him and bring it here now.” While mother held and comforted her crying son, sister quickly got an ice pack and brought it to her brother.
Mother focused her attention on comforting the boy, soothing his tears, and helping him hold the icepack to the part that hurt. Sister stood by, a tingle of fear – was she going to be in trouble? Was she going to look bad? But the mother focused on brother since he was the one who was hurt.
After brother’s tears had been dried with care, and his aching eased from the ice pack, a calmness of love covered the area. The mother began to speak: “When someone is hurting, the first thing we do is help them: not make excuses, not try to explain why it wasn’t our fault, not be afraid WE will get in trouble. The first thing we do is to make sure the person hurting gets helped. The first thing we do is get an ice pack. Then, after the hurting person feels better, we sort out what happened so no one gets hurt again. “
Mother asked what happened. Since brother was the one hurting, he talked first. Sister knew she wanted her brother to be safe so she listened very carefully to what he needed. Then sister talked. They worked out a way so that brother (and by default, sister) would be safe in the future. After brother felt safe, he rubbed his hurt spot and said brightly ‘sister, let’s play again!’ Sister gave her brother a gentle hug. Mother smiled because her children were able to practice the art of kindness, safety, and love through the simple act of bringing an ice pack.
And brother and sister went happily back into their joyful world of play.
Parable by Barb Hughes