April 20, 2008Asidebalance of powerchildrendeterrencegame theoryhumourkindergarten

Sunday Levity: Escalation control lessons from a kindergartener

Teachers preclude anarchy in the kindergarten

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Remember the new girl in my class?” the kindergartener said. She hit me.”

The father, being a student of conflict, was naturally interested in conflict among students. The kindergartener had caught his attention.

And what did you do then?” he asked.

I told the teacher. And the teacher scolded her,” the kindergartener replied, expecting appreciation. The father worried that this kid was falling into the maternal sphere of influence. It was time for a lesson on deterrence and balance of power.

You should have hit her right back”, he said. And then complained to the teacher.”

What?” She half-suspected that the father was pulling her leg. Noticing that he was serious she went on. But I told the teacher and the teacher scolded her and told her never to hit me again.”

The father moved to press home the most important point. If she knows that you’ll hit her back, she’ll think twice before hitting you. Even when the teacher is not around.”

What if she hits me harder?” The father vaguely remembered something about the new girl being bigger in size and older than the rest.

Well, then, you hit her back just as hard.”

Pappa, but then we’ll be fighting…like boys!”

And she ran out of her father’s study.

Related Link: Lessons in strategy from a kindergartener

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