Her name was Linda and she had the prettiest long blonde hair I’d ever see. But since I was only five and didn’t have a sister, the number of girls I had seen was almost completely represented by my kindergarten class. Linda sat in front of me and she almost always wore her hair in a ponytail, a long ponytail. There it was, right in front of me, morning after morning, day after day. So it was inevitable, and any boy will tell you, that such a beautiful ponytail just begs to be pulled. Every time I would give it a yank the response was the same; a short but piercing cry of both surprise and a little bit of pain I’m sure. But there was also the telltale sound of pleasure in her voice, but at the time I wasn’t sure or why that might be.
Now it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I kind of liked Linda, if you know what I mean. She was pretty, real nice and kind of quiet, unlike some of the girls. I wanted her to like me but I really didn’t know how to show her how I felt. Also, I wasn’t convinced I should, since I didn’t know how my buddies would react to my liking a girl. Whenever my buddies and I were playing with those big, red, cardboard blocks that look like bricks, Linda would be there hanging around with her friend’s. I thought about asking her to join in our building project, but of course I was afraid of what my buddies might think of me, you know, asking a girl to join in. Besides, there was lots of stuff for the girls to play with which we guys weren’t interested in. Maybe that’s why I pulled on that ponytail most every day, and was willing to accept repeated correction by Ms. Wood, our teacher. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but I really just wanted her to notice me I guess and pulling her hair was one way I knew I’d get her attention.
Linda always wore a blue dress, not the same dress, but always blue and that gave me an idea. I decided that I would wear blue to school so we would match. Somehow I thought this would make her take notice of me. Well, the only problem was that my selection of blue shirts was limited to only two and one of those I didn’t much like. That left me only one real choice, my favorite shirt of all, my Superman shirt. It was even the right shade of blue and it had long sleeves for winter. I tried wearing it every day, when it was clean enough to be seen in, but eventually my mom said, “I don’t know why you want to wear that shirt every day, but you can’t and you won’t. You have lots of other shirts to wear and you will wear them!” Well it didn’t matter since Linda didn’t seem to care one way or the other what color shirt I wore.
Our classroom was a large open room with a partitioned coat area in the back, with hooks to hang up our coats and rugs for our wet boots, on snowy or rainy days. It was kind of dark since there were no windows, like the rest of the room and it was our favorite place to hide when playing hide and seek and stuff on days we couldn’t go out for recess. On one of those rainy and cold days I was playing war with my buddies and decided to duck into the coat room to hide from an incoming artillery barrage and as I was ducking down, I noticed a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye and stood up. Standing ever so close in front of me was Linda, who was not there to hide or to put on her coat and boots. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “You don’t have pull my hair, wear silly shirts or anything else to get me to like you…I already do.” What happen next I’ll never forget; she grabbed my hand, leaned forward and KISSED ME on the cheek! Now what do you think I said? Absolutely nothing since I was too shocked and delighted to say anything. Then, as quickly as she had appeared, she was gone.
After that, I never again pulled on Linda’s ponytail or did anything else silly to get her attention. We never spoke to each other or anyone else about what happened in the coat room that afternoon, but we did talk and play together sometimes. I still didn’t ask her join me and my buddies when we were building stuff or playing war; but she knew I would have, if it had been just up to me.
Have you ever heard your mother or father ask, “Why are you acting up…will you just stop it?” If you really think about it, most of the time when we act up (adults do it too) it’s because we want attention and one sure way to get attention is to do something we’re not supposed to. Pulling on Linda’s ponytail was my way of getting her attention by doing something I shouldn’t. Imagine a situation where you mom or dad has just picked you up from school and instead of asking you how your day went, they did nothing but talk on their phone while driving home; and when you arrived home continued to ignore you and talk on the phone. Would this be a time when you might choose to act up? What should you do instead?
Let me give you three things you could try, instead of acting up; they are listen, wait, and ask. More than likely what they are talking about on the phone is important, so don’t interrupt. Listen and don’t interrupt; wait until they are finished speaking on the phone, then ask to be heard. You could say something like, “you won’t believe what happened to me today.” There is nothing wrong with wanting attention from somebody you care about or love, but there is a wrong way and a right way to get their attention.
Can you think of a time when you wanted attention from someone but didn’t get it? Did you choose to act up?
Sometimes when you want attention are you just being selfish