My Real Life

February 9, 2015

Good Boy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Tiny had to have surgery on Friday.

Minor surgery to remove his adenoids and have tubes put in his ears, but surgery, nonetheless.

He was ignorantly excited about the whole process, wondering if he would get a sticker afterward (he did).


In the recovery room, he smiled at everyone, but he was very, very quiet.

Over and over again, the doctors and nurses and staff kept saying “He’s such a good boy!’  “He’s so well-behaved!”  “What an awesome kid!”


And he is…they are correct.

But, I couldn’t help but wonder…what if he was in his element?

What if he wasn’t a little nervous, and so still and silent?

Would they not have considered him “a good boy?”

What if his mouth was moving a million miles a minute, like it usually does?

What if he was moving around, always in motion, as if powered like a battery, like on a normal day?

Would they have not said he was “so well-behaved?”

What do we value in children?



I’m not saying that this kid is perfect.

He’s spent time in the office at daycare, and is currently getting stickers for when he is actually able to be still and quiet for a few minutes before moving to the quiet room at nap time.

So far, he’s earned one.

But, does this mean he’s not a “good kid?”

Or does it mean he’s a three year old monkey who is learning how to behave.

Who is learning the power of words and that “No! I don’t like that!” shouted at the top of his lungs can often getting a larger reaction than a quiet, “No, thank you.”

Some of my favorite students from the past 21 years of being an educator were the ones who challenged me most

Who were always critically thinking, problem solving, debating, wondering, dreaming, speaking, moving, and shaking.

So, what makes “a good boy?”

And is that what I want for my own boy?


  1. I’m so glad to have read this today. Lately, I often think the same thing about my almost 3-year-old boy. He’s a rough and tumble, always energetic, can’t sit still for much and usually loud typical boy. But he’s also sweet, genuine, and sincere – and often people don’t get to see that side of him. I’m always afraid those that only ever see the former qualities will never think of him as “a good boy” when in reality, he is not ‘bad’ and rarely if ever does ‘bad’ things. He follows rules as best as an almost preschooler can. He remembers his manners more often than not. He loves to hug and kiss his family and he truly feels empathy when people are sad or upset. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts that go through my mind every time we leave our house. May our boys grow up to be good adults.

    Comment by Jen — February 9, 2015 @ 4:05 pm | Reply

    • Well said, Jen. Well said.

      Comment by Amy — February 9, 2015 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  2. Great post. I have two daughters – one is a little rule-follower and the other is mostly “good” but can definitely act up. Her kindergarten teacher told me that she can get carried away by her silliness. But I’m 100% okay with that. She’s a free spirit, and I want her to stay that way. 🙂

    Comment by Honest Mom — February 10, 2015 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

    • I’m in total agreement. I think the “good” label is a dangerous one. We’ve never said “good boy” or “good girl.” It’s always been “I like how you are doing good listening” or “Great direction following!” It’s just to easy for them to identify with the label, and I think that stinks. We always used to get the “talkative” chat from Monkey Girl when she was in elementary school, and as long as she wasn’t being completely disruptive, my feeling was, “The kid has a lot to say!” 🙂

      Comment by Amy — February 10, 2015 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  3. Good questions to ask ourselves. I have two older kids (13 and 10) who were quieter and more relaxed and i often say I was spoiled with them because my 3 yr old toddler (girl, btw) is extremely energetic and can be very defiant. The older ones would sit and play quietly and were content on their own. My little one constantly needs “something to do” and usually wants someone to do something with. It is stressful and tiring. On the other hand, she is much more spunky and independent than my other two were at her age, and I definitely admire her for that!

    Comment by TheNotsoSuperMom — February 10, 2015 @ 11:47 pm | Reply

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