An extremely precocious fourth-grade boy lives in my building. Oftentimes he comes into my apartment for a snack from the cupboard that I keep well stocked for my grandchildren and other kids in our complex.
The boy plays the cello and would rather read than play sports. In addition, he prefers to have one friend instead of many, and enjoys playing with girls as much as he enjoys playing with boys. His main challenge is having a friendship in which he does not feel like he is “the number-two guy.”
“I want to be the number-one guy who calls all of the shots,” he lamented one day.
Recently, the boy dropped in for a snack, and noticed my People Magazine that was opened to the tribute to Ed McMahon, who had just passed away.
“You know,” I ventured, “you just might find this interesting.”
I picked up the magazine and proceeded to read to him the short article called, “America’s Sidekick – Ed McMahon.” The first paragraph read, “In a business centered on the star, Ed McMahon embraced his role as the ultimate No. 2 man. ‘It takes a talent all its own, like being a catcher,’ McMahon told People.”
The boy listened intently, and after I finished reading, we launched into a wonderful dialogue about the value of every person in a relationship—no matter what role the person played.
“There can’t be a number one without a number two in any relationship,” I stated.
“Hmm…” the boy murmured knowingly.
I continued. “That would mean that the number-two guy is just as important as a number-one guy.”
A broad grin brightened the boy’s face.
Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m getting through when I talk with a kid. But this time, as that incredible boy left my apartment, I thought that our conversation about Ed McMahon’s relationship with Johnny Carson just might have made a difference.
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