Our school has adopted Positive Discipline this year. I taught my first graders how to do a bug and a wish. They colored and cut out bugs and wishes and glued them onto popsicle sticks. When they have a problem with a classmate they say “It bugs me when you (fill in the blank). I wish you would (fill in the blank)”. Lately the girls have been requesting bugs and wishes after every recess and it seems to take forever. I have them do it in the hallway outside our classroom so they don’t interrupt the rest of the class. They are generally quite adept at giving and listening to bugs and wishes. A small part of me suspects the girls are doing it to get a little special free time in the hallway. Despite the temptation to deny their request I just say, “sure, but be quick please.”
Today Maggie asked to do a bug and a wish with Adele after lunch recess. “Sure, but be quick please.” I said while groaning on the inside. Read Aloud is after recess. I was well into Mercy Watson Princess in Disguise when I heard crying coming from the hallway. “Rats!” I thought. I totally forgot they were still out there. My high school cadet went into the hallway after the girls. Two came back to class immediately and sat down demurely. The third came back with red eyes and sniffles. I traded places with Miss Maria, the high school student. Individually I took the girls into the hallway to ask about the problem. Adele explained, “Maggie, was just putting too much pressure on me.” Huh? Am I talking to a six year old or a sixteen year old? Then I Maggie into the hallway. “Why was Adele crying? What was your bug and a wish about?” “She was name calling me. She called me Bionic.” She said, appalled. “Do you know what bionic means? Do you think maybe Adele thought you were playing?” I said. “Bionic means strong and with a computer in your body.” Hmm…she does know what it means. “And we weren’t playing. It was at lunch.” This wasn’t going to be easy.
I called the girls together later that afternoon. “Girls, I understand that Maggie called you bionic and that at Collins we have a rule about calling names.” “Is it possible that you both had good intentions and there was just some miscommunication and misinterpretation going on here.” Maggie said with a puzzled look on her face, “Wait, what does that mean?” “Oh, I think that you both are very kind and wouldn’t want to hurt anyone elses feelings. Can you just shake on it?” I said out of desperation. I just wasn’t sure what else to say and really wanted this to end. It really felt like more drama than I had the patience for. While Bug and a Wish is a great way for children to have their feelings validated and for kids to learn to handle their own problems, I felt like the problem solving had gotten out of hand.