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  • Writer's pictureShameer Bismilla

Norman Didn't Do It

As a teacher I have the privilege of interacting with many school psychologists and counsellors about the importance of friendship for school-age children’s self esteem. They have always reiterated that having strong, healthy friendships can lead to a positive effect on children’s social-emotional needs. But the fundamental question is - what should you do when you find out that your children are exhibiting possessive behaviour towards their friends? Ryan T Higgin has written a fantastic social-emotional learning story with a hearty dose of humour. It has the most relatable character for children who may be experiencing a demeanour of jealousy or possessiveness.

The character, Norman is a porcupine and has a best friend, a tree, Mildred. They do everything together and everything is perfect the way it is until a new seedling started to pop out from the ground. Initially Norman wasn’t affected but as the seedling grows into a tree, it grew closer to Mildred. Norman’s state of jealousy and possessiveness grew hysterically. He wanted the situation to be status quo, so he took action and uprooted the tree out of Mildreds’s life permanently. He thought the situation was fixed but it DID NOT! Norman felt bad and feelings of regret started to creep in his conscience. He wanted to undo his actions and save the friendship again. What a meaningful and humorous story to read and discuss what is right and how to correct wrongdoings.

This is a common problem with students allowing a third friend to join a team. A superb story to enable conversations about making a horrible choice and how such actions can cause harm to others. I like how Norman came up with a plan to make amends, and followed through the plan - which is a critical life skill! I could hear the giggles when I read this story with my class.


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