Three children are galloping from one end of the house to the other, shrieking and giggling and springing onto the couch and then off again.
Boy: I won!
Girl: [whining] I never win. Readysetgo!
Toddler: I win I win I win I win!!!!!!
[thunderous feet pounding and more screaming]
Girl: I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to! I’m sorry!
Boy: Ooooooowwwwwww! Go away! You did too mean to! Mooooooooommmmyyyyyyyy! She tripped meeeeee!
Alternate Ending One:
Mom storms down the hall, every footstep thudding the coming judgment. Stands in the room, hands on hips. [Bellowing] What happened? I knew this would happen. I’ve told you and told you and TOLD you not to race around here because someone is going to get hurt!
All three kids yelling at once: It’s was his/her fault! She pulled me down! He pushed me! She beated me! He wouldn’t let me win!
Mom, screaming over the racket: Shut up all of you! Can’t you see I need to fix dinner?!? Don’t you want to EAT??? Girl, go to your room! Toddler, climb in your bed and lay there. Boy, you better show me blood after all that crying! [inspects injury] You’re fine! Go to your room too! Keep your mouths shut until it’s dinner time!!!
Everyone storms off to their respective rooms wailing, Mom stomps back down the hall towards the kitchen.
Alternate Ending Two:
Mom hurries down the hall, praying God, help me. I’m tired and frustrated with these kids doing this same thing every. single. night. I don’t want to be kind to them right now. Please help me. [Sitting down in the room with a quiet sigh] Tell me what happened. Boy, you go first.
Boy [sniffling]: W-w-we were racing down the hall and she stuck her foot out and tripped me and I hurt my knees.
Girl, interrupting loudly: But he pulled on my clothes to keep me from winning! That’s not fair!
Mom, quietly: Sounds like you returned evil for evil. Is that the right way to respond?
Girl: [sulky] No.
Mom: Are you ever allowed to return evil for evil?
Mom: How should you respond?
Girl: I could tell you.
Mom: That would be better. But we’re supposed to return good. Think about what that would look like. Boy, why did you pull on her clothes?
Boy: I didn’t want her to win.
Mom: Is that kind? Would you want her to pull on you?
Boy: [sulky] No. But it isn’t kind of her to beat me!
Mom: It’s a race, honey. If you agree to race, you agree to someone winning. The one who loses needs to congratulate the winner. You need to apologize to each other. Then let’s try this again and treat each other the way you want to be treated.
Kids return to their race, laughing resumes, and Mom returns to the kitchen.
This post is part of the One Word At A Time Blog Carnivalon Kindness.