The boys absolutely love going to feed the donkeys and pony when we visit our family in Norfolk. This time, Rocco (age 2) hung back, just watching one of the donkeys really closely. When I asked him if he was coming yet, he stayed looking at the donkey and told me, “The donkey is sad. He’s sad.” The genuine concern on his face stopped me in my tracks and I got down on his level to ask him why the donkey was sad. He looked closely at the donkey’s face again, then at the other donkeys further away in the field and told me “The donkey is sad. He wants his Mummy donkey.”
Such a simple conversation, so why has it inspired this blog post (my first ever in fact!)? Firstly, Rocco’s emotional intelligence and the fact that he could demonstrate such empathy really surprised me. To look at someone or something and notice that they are sad is one thing, but to then remain there with the donkey out of concern for him was another.
It also amazed me that he was able to explain why the donkey was sad. It was as though he had a little think to himself about what makes him sad and decided that it must be the same for the donkey.
It is moments like this that we often miss, due to the rushed nature of everyday life. By getting frustrated that our children are not coming when we call them. By constantly needing to move onto the next thing. I hold my hands up knowing that I have definitely been guilty of this myself! But by slowing down and taking the time to talk to our children in these moments can really reveal parts of their personality and what is important to them right now.
Archie, our 4 year old, tends to live life at 100 miles an hour, so our challenge in moments like these and on days out is to make sure that these moments with Rocco are not missed, whilst also keeping up with Archie and his excitement over whatever we are doing! The boys really are so different!
Have you experienced any moments like this with your children where their emotional intelligence has really shone through, or you have seen a little glimmer of an unknown corner of their personality? Or do you also have one child who is always in a rush, whilst the other breathes in every moment of life at a much slower pace? I’d love to hear from you if so!