Lessons from an almost 4-year-old

Singing bowl

In September last year (2017) a friend from the Bay Area was visiting with his almost 4-year-old (who is now 4!).

Our little friend has been practicing yoga for some time now at her day care. She loves it.

When she comes to visit she gets excited to see my yoga props and asks if she can use them. Of course! I have a singing bowl that I use and play in my yoga classes. The bowl was sitting on a shelf and she was playing with it.

Think about how an almost 4-year-old would bang (or I mean, play) the singing bowl … She was banging the striker (wooden stick) against it and not holding it in a proper way.

I asked her if she could please play it “this way.” And I showed her how I wanted her to play the bowl.

She responded: Well, my yoga teacher has one of these and this is how she plays it.

I responded: I understand that. But this is my bowl and I am asking you to please play it “this way.”

You can imagine how a conversation with an almost 4-year-old would go. We went back and forth a few times.

At some point so looked at me, got a little stiff and said, I am really frustrated right now. She set the bowl and the striker down and walked upstairs into the spare room.

I was astonished.

Soon after her dad asked where she went. I said, oh, she got mad at me and went upstairs to put herself in time out.

Apologies flooded from dad.

I said, don’t be sorry. That was amazing. She handled herself with maturity by expressing her feelings without yelling and decided to remove herself from the situation to give herself some time to breathe.

That’s non-violent communication by an almost 4-year-old.

If as adults we could display that kind of maturity this world would be a better place.

I remember this situation regularly and try to channel that almost 4-year-old in my responses when I am upset, frustrated, angry, hurt, etc.