This series of photographs illustrates a beautiful example of the repair of a conflict between two children, with many magic moments. E, in the blue shorts, is a 6-yo boy who hit K, the boy in the blue jeans, with a ball. The hit was most likely accidental, but K, who is 4-years old, began to cry and went to get the caregiver, L. In this photo, L is listening to E’s account of the story. A 7-yo girl, B, is the audience. In the the first photo, J has just finished voicing his complaint, and L is looking at D questioningly, waiting for an explanation.
In the second photo, E is defending himself, proclaiming his innocence of the charges. K is watching silently. B stands silently as witness. L explains that K was crying, and that E needs to apologize to K and help him feel better, even if it were an accident. B continues to stand, watching, her little hands on her hips. E is refusing to apologize to K. L is firm but gentle, her voice quiet and slow-paced. This is a magic moment, because L does not express anger or impatience, yet she persists.
In the third photo, L bends down to talk to E. E looks as if he is going to run away, and L takes hold of his arm. E is kicking his foot, rebelliously. At last, E says he is sorry, but he growls it out with a scowl. L tells him that he must say it again in a nicer way. E repeats his angry apology, and L quietly insists again that he say it nicely. This is another magic moment, because instead of getting angry, she persists in a quiet, non-reactive way. E finally says he is sorry – not exactly “nicely” – but without a growl. Here is another magic moment, in that L accepts a gesture that is less than perfect. She must have had the sense that at this point she could help bring the situation to a good resolution.
In the fourth photo, L tells E that he should give K a hug to make him feel better. This is too much for E, so in another magic moment, she opens her own arms and encloses the two little boys in a group embrace.