Paul and Nadiya sat on the couch with their heads bowed. Their mom was always annoyed when they fought or argued, but she had really had it this time. She told them they had to sit on the couch together, silent, until Dad got home.
You knew Mom was really mad when she made Dad talk to you. And Dad always made sure you felt bad for what you did. Sometimes he would ground them, or give them extra chores, but it was worse to know they made him sad.
Their mom was upset because they had been hitting each other. Not hard. But they had started arguing, and soon they were yelling in the living room. Well, they weren’t arguing now. They were too afraid of getting in more trouble.
When their dad got home, he pulled a chair over in front of the couch.
“I know it can be hard to get along with a sibling. But you two need to learn to be nice to each other. You will always be there for each other as you grow up. Try to be someone you would want to have there for you,” he said.
“I’m really disappointed,” he continued. Paul and Nadiya nodded sadly.
“You two know better. And you really upset your mom this afternoon. She was crying when she called me.”
If there was anything that could have made the brother and sister feel worse, that was it. They didn’t want to make their mom cry!
“Now,” their dad said, “You aren’t grounded. However, you have an extra chore this week, every day.”
Neither of them wanted extra chores, but they knew it was fair. They had hurt their mom’s feelings.
“Every day, each of you is going to do something nice for the other person. Think of the nicest thing you can do, and do it,” their dad said, pointing a finger at both of them. “I want to see you make each other smile, and your mom.”
Nadiya and Paul nodded, and their dad let them go outside to play.
The next day, Paul went into the kitchen and saw Nadiya at the table. She had already poured his favorite cereal into a big bowl and put out the milk and spoon for him. He smiled. That was really nice!
“Thanks, Nadiya!” he said as he sat down and poured some milk. Nadiya smiled. It made her feel good to see her brother smile like that.
After school, Paul met his sister at the school door.
“Let me carry your trumpet,” he said. And he carried it all the way home for her. Nadiya was really grateful. With Paul carrying the trumpet, she could look at all of the things she normally didn’t see on the way home. She was trying too hard not to trip over the trumpet case.
The two continued doing nice things for each other on Tuesday, and again on Wednesday. Paul made Nadiya’s bed for her, and Nadiya let Paul pick the TV channels. Nadiya let Paul eat the last cookie, and Paul helped Nadiya set up her stuffed animals.
By Thursday, they were looking to do nice things for each other all day. They realized that when they did nice things, they felt good, too! Being nice was great.
On Friday, their dad sat them down again.
“Okay, you two. Do you think you can still be nice to each other next week? And the week after that?”
Paul and Nadiya looked at each other. They still made each other mad sometimes, but it was easier to let go when they were being nice. They nodded at their dad.
“Good,” he said. “You two will be able to lean on each other no matter what happens in life, as long as you are nice.”
Behind their dad, their mom started to tear up. But this time, she wasn’t crying because she was sad her kids were fighting. She was crying because she was so happy to see them getting along.