Written by Joni Hay Patras
I have a memory of elementary school, but it’s not a positive memory. One year, there was a girl in my class who talked and walked in a different way. I recall her having a hearing aid. The boys in my class teased her, imitating the way she walked. What I don’t remember is anyone standing up for her. I don’t remember if I stood up for her. All you need is one person to stick by your side. To speak up when everyone else in the room is silent. I do remember the sadness in her eyes after being teased. She must have transferred to another school the following year. Hopefully, she was treated with kindness and respect.
Fast forward to high school. It might have been our senior year. My friend, Stacy, invited a boy to eat lunch at our table every day. I don’t think he had anyone to sit with at lunch. He acted developmentally younger than his chronological age. He obviously had a crush on her. She received a ring at lunch! I also recall how she reacted to the gift- not with embarrassment, but with kindness.
I recently talked about these two memories with my own children.
My hope is that they will always……
Stand up for kids who are being teased.
Look for the kids at recess who are playing alone.
Invite a student sitting alone at lunch to sit at their table.
Act kind to everyone- even if they don’t like you.
Believe in yourself to make the right choices.
“Be the RAINBOW in someone else’s CLOUD“