I got a phone call today at work from one of the 4-Hers I work with. She asked to talk to me and gave her name. When the receptionist asked if she was a client she informed her that no, she was “just a friend.” I got on the phone and she informed me that her little sister’s hamster was dying. The girl on the phone is 12 and the sister is 10. I got a basic history and found out that the hamster is at the age when most hamsters start to self-destruct. I happened to be going to their house tonight for a meeting so I said that I would look at it then. She told me it would be dead by then and I had to agree that it was a good possibility.
Then she said that her sister was really upset and had been crying all day about her hamster. Her sister is a very sensitive kid. She cries if you look at her wrong. So I told the girl on the phone that she needed to have some compassion. She knows that her sister loves her hamsters. She answered with a thoughtful, “Yeah…”
In the pause after that word I reflected on how this was a good learning opportunity for her. She could learn to empathize with her sister. Normally they fight alot. Isn’t it wonderful to work with kids and teach them to help each other? My little self-congratulatory session went on until she yelled to her sister –
“Hey! Heather says your hamster is old and is going to die!”