How An Inflatable Pool Made Us Talk About Differences


When my oldest daughter was 4 she got an inflatable pool. It was about 6 feet long and 3 feet high. Nothing special. She would play in it for hours. She loved it even more when one of her friends would come over and swim too.  They kind of rotated at which house they would play. One day Sophia went over to her house. She came home telling me that her friend had gotten a pool and had invited her to swim there. A swimming play date was arranged and the next day Sophia went there to swim for the first time instead.

When they came to pick Sophia up I overheard her say as they walked down the driveway, "I don't know why we don't swim at my house and play at yours later. My pool is big. Yours is a tub."

I cringed. At 4 years old I knew she didn't mean it in a negative way. She loved playing with her friend. They were best friends. I heard her mom respond to Sophia but saying some along the lines of, "You will still have fun. There are other toys in it."

When Sophie came home I asked the normal questions, but I followed up with one that I need a specific answer. Is her pool like yours?

Why did I need to ask? I had to open the door for the conversation. Sophie told me her pool was smaller and just a plastic tub. She compared it to one of my storage tubs. I asked if her friend was excited about having a new pool and she said yes.

 I reminded her that some people have real pools. Some people live by the lake. Some people live by the ocean. What if she had invited them over and they didn't like her pool? What if it was brand new and she was excited when that happened?

The inflatable pool prompted a conversation that I didn't realize I needed to have as a parent. 
She was 4 then, but we have a similar conversation a lot. It's not about pools, but about how 
→one person's very best may look different than someone else's. ←

 And when that happens, take the time to congratulate them. Compliment them. Acknowledge whatever that "best" may be for them even if you think there is something better. 
For kids it's frequently new clothes, shoes, school, winning a game, moving houses, parent's getting a new car, earning a grade on something at school...I find as adults sometimes it's even to forget these types of conversations or to stop having them when kids are little, but I wonder how many hurt feelings could be avoided if we kept having them.


What unexpected thing prompted a "parenting moment" for you? 
Or how about moments your kids said something that made you cringe?
Let me know in the comments.
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13 comments

  1. I had a moment like this with my daughter when she made a comment about an individual who was on the bigger side. It opened up the conversation on how words can hurt, sometimes more than anything physical and how everyone is made differently and that is a special thing. It was painful to go through because the woman heard her comment but it helped me teach our daughter a valuable lesson. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. "One person's best may look different than someone else's"... Love this important lesson and how you turned the comment into a teachable moment. ❤

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  3. Great notes on how to handle comparison starting at a young age ...and it starts young. But, though discussions like this we can prompt opportunities for kindness, acceptance, and compassion.
    Happy Tuesday!
    Megs
    http://sunnyand80.org

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  4. Stopping by from Tuesday Talk! This was such a great teachable moment. I think it's so important to have these conversations with our kids, even at an early age. Imagine the change that could occur if all parents were as open!

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  5. Thanks for sharing this excellent teachable moment!

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  6. "One person's best may look different than someone else's". I wish more adults had/would have that teaching moment. Great stuff. Really.

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  7. Such an important conversation to have! And I love that it came up at such a young age and in a relatively benign situation. (Though, I can totally understand wanting to cringe if my daughter said something like that to one of her friends) Thanks for the reminder to have this conversation early and often.

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  8. Amazing how huge concepts and philosophical discussions and life lessons can come in simple forms. My daughter is only just two but I am sure I have all this to come! #thatfridaylinky

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  9. This is such a great post! I loved ho you handled it and used this opportunity to help teach your daughter. Thank you so much for sharing this at the #happynowlinkup

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  10. Great post. It's so important to instill this kind of thinking into children. I know they do it with complete innocence but it can feel like a reflection on us as parents! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  11. I agree, children can say things at the right 'wrong' moment! Haha! A great teachable lesson though. Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

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  12. Such a brilliant move seizing the opportunity to teach a valuable lesson great post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

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  13. This is such a brilliant way to approach a life lesson and to encourage your little lady to appreciate what she has #dreamteam

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