We had a morning recently when two of our young princesses woke up with a bad case of the squabbles. The episodes were disciplined as usual, but it seemed a heart-shift required a little more.
Before school I called each to me individually. On a piece of paper folded in half I drew a hasty sketch of an ugly, sour, princess. “Princess Grumble” found the worst in everything, making her, and anyone she encountered, quite miserable. I elaborated, describing a morning with Princess Grumble, who despite all her riches and the love of her parents was perpetually disagreeable. It didn’t matter to Grumble that she had a dozen gorgeous gowns–they were always the wrong color or made of the wrong material. The weather never suited her, and she found fault with every possible pleasure.
Flipping the paper over I drew a happy princess and told them about Grumble’s twin sister, “Princess Sunshine”. Princess Sunshine lived in the same castle, with the same weather, and similar gowns to those Grumble disdained. Unlike Grumble, however, Princess Sunshine always found joy in her play and daily tasks. If the maid laid out one of her least favorite gowns, she would be grateful that even her least favorite was so fine!
When I was finished the girls wanted to color the princesses and talked of little else all day! They told the story over and over to themselves, treasured the drawings, and thanked me over and over for making up a story for them. Throughout the week I’ve heard both Kaira and Kendra catch themselves mid-complaint to exclaim in horror, “I sound like Princess Grumble!”
They later drew their own drawings continuing the storyline. Determining that a handsome prince would come to see Princess Sunshine, they drew the following picture (Kaira drew the princess, Kendra the Prince):