Martine & Stephen


Over August, on several occasions I had the opportunity to look after my eight years old niece.  On a late afternoon after we had done quite a lot in the day with friends and family and everyone had gone home, she had an ‘attack of boredom’.  She was truly bored and anything I suggested was really boring!  It lasted thirty minutes with all kinds of histrionics.  This was her second attack of boredom in a month.  The first time, a visiting Danish friend took her out of her funk.

This time I decided to do something different (I am generally a kind and generous aunt).  I took firm action, told her it was not on and after phoning her parents took her back to them immediately (it is half an hour drive away).  I did not shout but my tone of voice was firm, at the same time I remained kind and loving.

Reflecting on it, I realised that I had felt that I could not tolerate her attack of boredom considering her opportunities and luxuries compared with the destitute children I know and support in South Africa.  Later on I saw that I took the right action for the wrong reasons.  When I took care of her next, she was very sweet and loving and less capricious, firmness had been a good idea.  But the reason why I was firm was ideological and as such had little to do with her situation and circumstances. 

So I do not know if she will have an attack of boredom with me again but I intend to do something different then and try to see if I can address that moment and herself as she will be in a creative manner.

This has made me ponder that sometimes we might do the right thing for the wrong reason and maybe sometimes we do the wrong thing for the right reason!  What do you think?  Any examples?

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