Jason Levy is a small little boy, quite shy with strangers, so you might have a hard time getting him to open up and talk to you. This is completely normal, and you might think that having his parents around helping him answer questions might help, but that is not the case because it seems they intimidate him and make him feel like he has no voice. Hence, he starts to clam up and, despite his father or mother’s urgings, refuses to talk.
The best strategy in this case is to put his parents in a position where they are in view, so he feels safe, yet are not a part of the conversation. This way Jason will not feel like he is performing, rather he’ll be comfortable and at home, knowing he’s being looked out for, but not judged.
Next, try making him comfortable by engaging in an activity he can have fun with, like playing with toys (he’s only five after all) or drawing. When he plays pretend, splashing around in a pool or following along with games his friends narrate, he really begins to relax, and we can see his true colors, his insecurities, and his hopes and dreams.
Jason hopes to one day be an astronaut. What five-year-old doesn’t share that ambition? His desire stems from a fascination with space ships and technology and the desire to be a hero. All his life, this little boy has gone along with his friends, followed his cousins in whatever games they were playing, or played with himself and his toys and his family. So, what he lacks in confidence he more than makes up with in dreaming and using his imagination. Like all children, he can’t imagine a world in which he is the center of attention and all meaning, and it is important to try to preserve this innocence as much as we can. The true tragedy of growing old is the loss of a fully functioning imagination.
The worst thing Jason has ever done in his life was steal a toy car from his preschool. He felt guilty about it for days, but the car looked so cool and he was having so much fun playing it, that when his mother came to pick him up and it was time to go home, he slipped it into his pocket. Jason took it out when he was in his room and played with the little “Hot Wheel” toy until his mother came in to call him to dinner. Now, she doesn’t keep track of what toys Jason owns, and surely would not have noticed that this car was not one that was in his usual collection, were it not for the completely guilty look on his face that he tried—and failed miserably—to hide.
“Where did you get that?” she asked.
Jason said nothing, merely shrugging his shoulders until her stern look and his insurmountable guilt forced him to admit that he took it from his preschool.
Not wanting her son to grow up a thief, Mrs. Cantor knew she had to teach Jason a lesson, so the next day she took him to the police station and had an off-duty patrol officer talk to him.
Jason was crying the whole time. He thought he was going to be arrested for sure, and he didn’t understand that the officer was just messing with him. When Jason’s sobs subsided a bit and he promised his mom and officer Leroy that he would never steal anything ever again for as long as he lived, she took him home, telling him that on Monday, they’d go back to the school and bring the toy to his teacher, returning it to its rightful home.
It was, however, a very busy weekend, and by the time Monday rolled around, Mrs. Levy had completely forgotten about the matchbox car.
Jason still has it this very day.