(2/2016) Last month I talked about New Year's resolutions and making a change for the better. Thinking of others before yourself and being the change you want to see in the world. This month is kind of an extension of that. This month I am going to tell you a few stories and end with a question that will hopefully get you thinking.
Everyday a little girl, we'll call her Liz, is tormented and teased by other kids at her school because she doesn't wear stylish clothes. Much to the contrary she wears clothing that is actually very worn, a little tattered and a bit outdated. Her dad passed away over the summer and her mom is working three jobs to make ends meet. If the other children took
the time to get to know this little girl they would realize they have a lot in common with her. Liz loves to dance, listen to music, and draw. Unfortunately they didn't take the time for that. They just assumed since she looked and dressed differently that they had nothing in common.
A little boy, we'll call John, insists that he doesn't want to go to school. He tries to convince his mom that he is sick and shouldn't go to school for the seventh time in less than two weeks. She knows something is going on but can't get her son to talk about it. He goes to school with great hesitation because the other boys are going to tease him again
after P.E. class. They are frustrated because he can't catch a ball to save his life. When they play basketball with him, he spends most of his time standing on the court hoping someone will pass him the ball and feeling grateful that they don't. He knows that every time he tries to shoot a basket he misses.
What these boys don't realize is that the child they are tormenting has an undiagnosed vision focusing disorder. He can't focus on anything coming directly at him or going directly away from him. He might grow to be 7 feet tall but he will never be in the NBA. If the boys would take the time to get to know him they would find out that he is the most creative
Mine Crafter they have ever met and that he knows more sports statistics than all of them combined. These boys don't give John the time of day unless they are criticizing him.
There is a girl in middle school; we will call her Abby, who stays late every day before she walks home. She doesn't feel like she fits in and the boys tease her about the way she looks. So far this week she has been called fat, ugly, and hideous. Abby knows if she stays at school a little late and stalls for time then she can walk home alone without all of
the name calling. She feels bad enough about the way she looks; she doesn't need to constantly be reminded that she isn't one of the "pretty girls".
Unfortunately for Abby she was bullied in elementary school and has developed a very low self-esteem. Abby has gotten to the point where she doesn't feel anything she does will make her "pretty" so she has stopped taking care of herself altogether. Enough kids have called her fat and ugly that she believes that is what she is. If only they had gotten to know
the person on the inside, they would have found that Abby was one of the most beautiful girls they had ever met. She loves to help people and is constantly volunteering at church and school events. She has an amazing imagination and is a whiz at math. Lately she has even started doodling and does some mean caricatures. There is so much more to her than a girl with pimples on
her face and unruly hair.
This story is one of a boy who is one of the most intelligent children you could meet, we will call him Andy. Andy is in all of the top classes and works very hard to get straight A's. He knows more about politics than most adults and he loves to read. Unfortunately some of the kids tease him and mess with him at lunch. You see, Andy is blind and therefore
different from the other children in middle school. Because he is different and some of them don't know how to interact with him, they simply mess with him. They will move his lunch from in front of him so he can't find it. Or maybe they will take his ketchup and replace it with something else, maybe mayonnaise; it varies depending on what day it is. Maybe they will hold fake
conversations around him, for the sole purpose of confusing or worrying him. Regardless of what they are doing to torment him they are doing it on a regular basis.
Luckily Andy is well grounded and confident, unlike Abby. This doesn't change the fact that he truly has had enough. He doesn't understand why people would do such a thing to anyone. Not once have these kids attempted to get to know him or accept him for who he is; an intelligent, fun loving middle school boy.
My final story is a short one but sometimes it is something small that can change some one else's day. Once upon a time there was a little boy in kindergarten standing sadly in the corner. When a boy named Sam asked him what was wrong, he responded by saying, "I don't have any friends." Without hesitation Sam took his hand and said, "You do now!"
So now I have some questions for you and hopefully they give you something to think about and possibly share with your children. Do you believe that most people are good people at heart? Do you believe that you have raised your children to be good, kind people? Do you believe that other people are raising their children to be cruel, bullies? If you believe you
are raising your children to be kind and that other people aren't raising their children to be cruel either then where are these bullies coming from. Lastly, when is the last time you talked to your children about being kind?