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Story of a Cold Wind and Wearing a Coat

For 52 1/2 years, I have enjoyed a friendship with a wonderful woman, named Marian. Years ago, when we were raising small children, we decided to create our own version of pre-school. Yesterday, we buried my dear friend. It is with great love that today I share a story of her interaction with my daughter, Joy.

When my daughter, Joy was five years old, two other mothers and I decided our young children would benefit from a daycare program. If pressed to tell the truth, we would have acknowledged that our kids were fine, but we moms seriously needed a little childcare relief.

To this end, we divided the names of all centers in the area and began a thorough and systematic investigation. We would visit, take copious notes and then meet to discuss our findings. Sadly, we did not find a single day-care center that met our expectations. Given the fact that we believed the children in question all had superlative qualities, one can easily understand that an ordinary center would never do.

Ultimately, we decided that if we wanted the job done right, we would have to do it ourselves. And so, we did. We divided the days and each of us became a pre-school teacher once a week.

Isn’t there always one challenging child? On a cold, windy morning, it became Marian’s turn to be the teacher of the day for all of the children. Even with a cold, blustery wind, Marian decided a walk would be good for everyone. All children save one hustled into their winter coats.

Marian, noticing that Joy had not put on her coat, said, “Joy, it’s cold and windy outside. Put your coat on, please.”

Joy, “I don’t want to wear my coat. My mommy lets me make my own choices.”

And so, Joy didn’t wear her coat. After walking two blocks from Marian’s house, Joy said, “Marian. I’m cold. I want us to go back to your house now.”

Marian replied, “Joy, you made the choice to leave your coat at the house. The other children are having fun. I’m sorry, but you are going to have to be cold.”

The power in this story is that Marian did not give in to Joy. Marian allowed Joy to experience the natural consequence of her choice to go coatless. Shivering for a short time provided an important lesson. What would Joy have learned if Marian had abruptly taken the group home? It’s all about lessons. An important lesson is, “It’s not all about me and what I want.”


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