Though they’ve been around for a while, somehow our family has just discovered the “No, David!” books. I think we originally received one as a gift. My older son enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t his favorite. With my younger son, however, “No, David!” is a daily way of life.
If you aren’t familiar, David is a mischievous child who always seems to get in trouble. He does all those boy things little boys do — runs around naked, breaks windows with a ball, chews with his mouth open, colors on desks, throws food in the cafeteria. Throughout it all, it’s clear he can’t help himself, despite the incessant instruction from adults to “Come back here!” “Stop that this instant!” and “I said NO, David!”
My youngest boy is a “David” himself — always in trouble, always doing things he shouldn’t, always breaking rules, needing to be corrected or chased down the street, always throwing baseballs or tracking mud in the house. When we first started reading the books to him as a 3-year-old he’d laugh hysterically when we’d use his name instead of “David.”
Now that he’s a little older and started kindergarten, which has been a rough transition, I think “No, David!” has been a godsend. It helps my son see that just because he doesn’t get purple on the classroom behavior color chart every day, he’s not a bad kid. He’s a busy boy who is curious, energetic, and goes all day non-stop. He’s not bad on purpose, he just can’t help himself. It never occurs to him that swinging the bat in the house is a bad idea, that the red wax on his snack cheese isn’t for eating, that licking the dog’s bone is gross, that riding his scooter down the hill into the side of the house or jumping from the swing into the baby pool may be a bad choice with a painful outcome.
Just like David, my youngest has a loving heart, a sweet spot for his mama, and never truly means to hurt himself or anyone else with his crazy ideas. At the end of every “No, David!” book, David is of course shown he is loved no matter what. And despite all the laughs his naughty behavior earns from my son, that is the most important message I want my own boy to take away from the books: No matter what, you are loved.