Recently a kindergarten student was struggling with going to music class. His biggest concern was the noise and busyness of so many kids singing together. A coworker and I debated about how much we should force the issue. It was a tough balance between expecting him to do what the class was doing and respecting his sensitivity.
What to do, what to do.
Then I told him a story.
When I was in about grade two, my dad took me to Niagara Falls. They had the biggest ferris wheel ever. It was so high you wouldn’t believe it. Now, I don’t like heights. Being really high up makes my stomach feel funny and I get scared. My dad knew this. But he also knew that the ride might be a once in a lifetime moment. So he made me a deal. He said:
“Try it for one rotation. Just one. We’re the only ones here. I will tell the operator that if you want to get off, I will signal him to stop it after one time. But if you’re okay after one time around, then I’ll give the thumbs up and we’ll go again. Every time we get to the bottom, I’ll signal to him and you can decide when you want to get off. Deal?”
Even though I still felt nervous and scared, I got on the ride and we went around. And you know what? It was amazing. I did love it. Yes, every time we got to the top my stomach flipped a little, but my dad was with me and I trusted him. I saw things from that ferris wheel that I would never see from the ground. I was glad I tried it out.
Then I looked my little friend in the eye and said, “This is your ferris wheel moment.”
I asked him if we could make a deal. He had told me he didn’t want headphones on because they hurt his ears, so that wouldn’t help him in music class. No problem, no headphones. I suggested he could sit right at the back, close to the door. He agreed. Then I suggested we give it a try for five minutes, he countered with one, I came back with two and we shook hands. Off we went to music class. And he did it! He sat in his spot and we were both surprised when my timer beeped announcing the two minutes was over. He declined my offer to stay longer and we agreed that next week we would try for three minutes.
This is your ferris wheel moment.