I have been entertaining myself with a Reader’s Digest book titled Fun and Laughter. It was published back in 1967 and still brings many chuckles.
They shared a cute story on pages 90-91 which writers of books about children would enjoy. It was titled Ingenious Folk, shared by Mrs. Ralph Crossan in Family Weekly. It emphasizes the cleverness of children which adults could remember.
Here it is:
I sometimes think that books on how to raise children should be written by children. Waiting in line at an ice-cream stand I noticed two boys, about seven and two. The older was holding tightly to his little brother, who was announcing emphatically to all the world, “I want vanilla. I want vanilla.”
Unfortunately the vanilla machine had broken down. Knowing how my two-year-old would react to a crisis like that, I wondered how the older boy would handle the situation.
Without flinching, he ordered two strawberry cones and handed one to his little brother. “Here you are,” he said cheerfully. “Pink vanilla!”
I remember a time when I was driving for a public school. I was actually able to use cleverness to convince a mentally handicapped student to enter the station wagon I drove for this particular group of children. Sometimes we give responses that surprise even us.
I was sitting in the vehicle as my passengers climbed in for their trip home. She decided she did not want to get into the car with the rest of the students. She stood there, adamant about not doing so with her hands pressed against the top of the car. She was a large and strong girl. Even if I were allowed to use physical force, she could have easily resisted.
It required some psychology.
Without forward thinking, I told her. “Ok. You can stay here if you want. But, you need to know, all the students are going home. In a little while the teachers will leave, too. The school doors will be locked. There will be no one left at the school but you. You will be left standing here on the sidewalk all alone, all night, until everyone returns tomorrow.”
“I’ll get in the car. I’ll get in the car.”
Whew! I won that time.
Psychology doesn’t always work on children. One time I thought I was using a clever approach on my young teenaged daughter. I was trying to convince her of may way of thinking about an issue. She replied to my efforts, “It won’t work Mom. I know you are trying to use reverse psychology.”
How did she know?
I remember that response even though I cannot remember the issue being discussed.