Story #8: Your Child’s Body/Emotions and Behavior Which is Chicken? Which is Egg?

Our 4th grade counsellor, Ms. Haley, pointed to the egg and then to the sometimes-squawking caged chicken on the table and said, “Does anyone know where this chicken started?”

My hand shot up, “The chicken was once a chick and hatched from an egg. I saw it happen on my grandpa’s chicken farm.”

“You are right,” Ms. Haley said. “Way to go Emma! We are all kind of like an egg. Inside us we have body and emotion feelings. You can’t see them but you sure can feel them. But when the inside feelings happen, they almost always hatch and pop out like a chick from an egg.

“Everyone, pinch the top of your wrist.” Several “ouches” rippled through the room.

“Raise you hand if your body feels a little pain?” Hands flew into the air.

“If the pain continued, would you would feel an emotion like scared or happy? Which emotion would it be?” A chorus of “sacred” filled the room.

She pointed to the egg. “Do you see how there are body feelings and emotions inside us, like the chick is inside the egg and can’t be seen?” Then she pointed to the chicken. “Did you hear the chickens in the room say ouch, the outside behavior coming from the inside pain and scared emotion?”

So silly, Ms. Haley calling all of us chickens.

“So, hurting pain can be from body pinching or hurt from things like being teased. Can someone give an example of feeling hurt by something painful happening in your life,” she asked.

My best friend Ava raised her hand. “My dog died yesterday…” She started crying.

Ms. Haley walked quickly over to her and while touching her shoulder said, “That really hurts inside and you showing it on the outside by crying is exactly normal and okay.” Looking to the rest of the class she asks, “How many of you feel an inside aching in your stomach for Becky?” Everyone was nodding their heads with sad faces.

Then my other friend Liam raised his hand. “My dad lost his job and I’m really sad and scared.”

Ms. Haley said, “That’s so sad. I ache inside for you. Right now, I’d like each of you to write one or two sentences about how you feel for Liam and Ava. And Liam and Ava, I’d like you to visit me today in my office. I’ll give you the notes from your classmates. Now let’s take a minute to write the notes.

“Notice as we write our caring notes, our inside body feels a mixture of ache, bath water warm, and kindness. Do you think the note writing is a pretty good chicken coming from the egg’s inside warmth and love?” All heads nodded.

I couldn’t wait to tell Mom about how much fun this class was. How funny, that we all have an egg and a chicken happening in our lives.

Emotions first and behavior second is breakthrough parenting intervention made by the new (2019) parenting approach and theory: Love Infusing Fear – Therapy (LIFT).