At age 4, my daughter was not always obedient. One evening, at bedtime, she began to get excited, move, run, jump, even performing some acrobatics, all in an attempt to put off having to go to bed for as long as she could. I needed to implement some kind of consequence to make her understand that her behavior was simply not acceptable.
After calming her down, putting her pajamas on and putting her to bed, she asked me for a story. That’s was it, I had found the appropriate consequence. There would be no story that night. I was comfortable with this idea. She was not. Her world must have seemed to be falling apart. She suddenly seemed to experience an urgent need to hear words coming from my mouth.
“Please.…….. No. Please.……… No. Pleeease…. Not tonight. “
“Three words… just three words.
I started to soften. It broke my heart to see her distress …
“OK, three words… chair, cloud, pig.”
She pondered this for a moment, probably wondering what on Earth she could do with only these three particular words to help her fall asleep.
“One more word… please“
“This is the story about a little pig that could not sleep. He had been disobedient and had to fall asleep without a story that night. “The first little pig story was born. Always improvised from beginning to end, the stories of the little pig, each one unique, will echo in her ears for many years to come.
Today, as I asked her permission to share this story, a big smile lit up her face.