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No two wheels are alike let us describe what we see, let's do not judge and praise

kidsparents2 yearschild3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkidLenka Míkovcová4 years5 years1 yearRespect and be Respected0 yearcardescribeclumsyjudgereactionspraisewheelsdrawn picturepicturecomplimentnicewhat we seefeedback

Kryštof was about two years old. He came to me to show me his newly drawn picture, in which were two wheels of different sizes and some strange curve. It was a car. I wanted to support Kryštof, compliment his picture so I told him: “That’s a nice car, you did well.” I didn’t even have enough time to smile before an unexpected reaction came. Kryštof got mad and started screaming, that it isn’t a nice car, that it didn’t work out, that he’s not good at it and added why. “Because the wheels aren’t the same!”

At that moment I realized, that I can’t judge if his picture is nice or not, if it corresponds to reality or not, and if he is able to draw it alone or not.

I didn’t hesitate and snatched up the book Respect and Be Respected* and opened to the chapter about the risks of compliments and rewards and the alternatives to them. Instructed by the clever book, I was about to give Kryštof some feedback instead of a false compliment. I got a few sentences ready and was waiting for the right moment. I felt like a hungry animal waiting for its prey. The result was like a queen’s move securing the win.

The opportunity arose quickly. Kryštof came with Lego construction. I looked at the Lego “building” and got a sentence out of myself: “You brought a Lego for me to see. I see that you used mainly blue and red blocks and fastened a board on top.” Kryštof wiggled around triumphantly and then ran off. I was relieved. Then he came to show other things a few more times. The building was a few blocks larger each time and he was he was excited that I noticed the change. In the end, he even elaborated on the functions of the building on his own accord.

I seemed unsure of my “new” dictionary, even clumsy, but I had the feeling like I passed the most important trial of my life. In time I refined my dictionary and my reactions became more natural.

*Respect and Be Respected, Respektovat a být respektován, Pavel Kopřiva, Jana Nováčková, Dobromila Nevolová, Taťjana Kopřivová, Pavel Kopřiva - Spirála, 2008

Author: Lenka Míkovcová

Translation: Marek Hubbell