The other day, I walked to a neighbor's house to pick him up from Wolf Den. The scene was a little crazy as eight or nine 8-year-old boys ran around the front yard, laughing and roughhousing.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a confrontation between two of the little Cubs. One boy was aggressively objecting that another had broken one of the many obscure rules to a made-up game they were playing. The "rule breaker" became increasingly agitated until he lost his temper and began to kick the first boy. At that moment, Jacob inserted himself directly between both of them. Looking the kicker in the eyes and holding him by the arms, he repeated over and over, "Calm down, Cohen, calm down!" The boy listened to Jacob and quickly stopped. Everyone went back to playing, forgetting what all the fuss was about.
Until Jacob was about 5 years old, HE was the one getting frustrated and kicking people. He would throw the most violent tantrums I've ever had to deal with. Day after day, I would send him to his room for very noisy time outs. He'd scream and kick himself out, until at last he would call to me, "Mom, I'm done!" and then I'd let him rejoin the rest of humanity. Even into the 2nd grade, he would have periodic moments of frustration at school and home where — though non-violent — he would freeze up and cry, unable to function until he could relax. But over the years, through much difficulty and effort, he slowly gained the ability to control and calm himself.
Now I feel very proud that Jacob is not only able to exercise self discipline, but he can apply his hard-won skills to help others calm down and get along better as well. As we walked home from Cub Scouts, I told him I was impressed at how he had been a peacemaker. Acting surprised, he just laughed and said, "I like Cohen. He's funny."