Our babysitter related this story to me when I came home from my daytime errands.
Toodles was on a slide at the local park. While sitting at the top waiting to go down, a little boy, roughly Toodles's age, pushed her so that she slid down before she was ready. Physically, she was fine, but she was crying.
JD saw this and, after the little boy came down the slide, proceeded to discipline the little boy. "Don't push Toodles down the slide!" said JD. "You go sit down. Time out!" he said, pulling the little boy by his sleeve. The little boy, though a bit wide-eyed, sat down.
Then, JD walked over to Toodles and asked, "Toodles, are you ok?"
"Yeah," she respondeed tearfully and sniffling.
JD went back to the little boy and explained to him how he shouldn't push other kids down the slide, that they could get hurt. Back to Toodles.
"Are you still ok?" he asked.
"Yeah," she responded, still sniffling.
Back to the little boy. "Go say sorry to Toodles," JD directed.
"No," said the little boy.
"Yes," said JD, "Go say sorry to Toodles."
"Ok," and reluctantly walked to Toodles and gave her a half-hearted, "Sorry."
My sitter told me that, all this time, she looked for a parent or babysitter to appear to defend/discipline/oversee the situation, but none did. She also said that she was in between intervening and keeping her distance. Because JD was doing such a good job talking to the boy, though sternly, and not hitting, she sat back and let him take care of the situation.
Wife and I have often talked and debated about the best way to teach JD to defend his sister. It's difficult to teach a child of four years not to hit, but suddenly allow him the judgment to hit if it is required to defend his sister. Apparently he picked up the appropriate tactics. JD simultaneously ensured Toodles's well-being while defending her honor and safety while using upper-level intellectual tactics. Rather than throwing himself on the boy and beating the daylights out of him, he used his words to handle an emotionally charged situation. It was the perfect combination of bravery and maturity.
And he knew that nobody pushes Toodles. Nobody.
I am neither pacifist nor war-monger. There is a time for action and a time for diplomacy. I'm proud to say that our son, in this instance, chose the appropriate course of reaction in this situation.