This morning my son went out to the chicken coop to get eggs (yes, we have nine chickens in your backyard). On his way back in, his hands full of eggs and struggling not to drop them, he got to the back deck and (in a typically 10-year-old-boy agitated fashion) demanded that his younger sister open the door. I don’t know if she didn’t like his tone, or the combined look of anger, frustration, and fear about dropping an egg, but she refused to open the door. He bellowed again for the door to be opened. She just sat there.
Normally, I would praise my daughter for demanding proper treatment, after all, she is a princess. But, in this case, when her brother was obviously in need of help, it was not the time. I told my daughter to let him in, even though he had not asked nicely and then I sat down with her to explain this.
When someone genuinely needs help, help first; then deal with the other stuff.
I don’t think my son meant to be a jerk at that moment; he just didn’t want to drop the eggs before getting them inside. The best choice was to help him, and then afterward explain to him that asking nicely is a better option.
This is one of the mantras I want to live by and that I want to teach my kids. Help first. If you see a need you can meet, meet it. Then deal with the other stuff.