Friday, March 2, 2012

All I know...

I just stepped onto the bus when my son said "Mom, you need to sit with him".  He was directing his request to a boy that was sitting alone behind the seat that he was in.

We were on our way to a field trip and all the kids were snickering as I sat next to this boy.

I introduced myself to this boy and he seemed really nice.  We talked about the production we were about to go see.  He told me that they had already watched the Phantom of the Opera movie and I explained I had only ever heard some of the music, had never really had the opportunity to see either the movie or the theatre performance.

We chatted some more about the book he was reading.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  My boys loved those books.  He told me a bit about how he really is enjoying the 'do it yourself' version of the series where he can write his own stories.

We have something in common.  A friend. 
That's when I knew why I was sitting with this boy.

He turned to me and said "My dad's girlfriend was pregnant and the baby died forty five minutes after she was born".

I asked him how he felt about it.  He said he was sad.  They were all ready to receive this new baby into their family and now there's all this baby stuff and no baby to use it.

That's when I told him I knew exactly how he felt.  I shared in small detail my own son's death.  I told him it's a hard thing to go through but that one day he will see just how important that baby was even though she didn't live a very long life.

The kids around me were quick to point out  this boys' flaws.  One girl said he yelled out in the hallway that he liked her hair and thought she was pretty (I can think of worse things he could've yelled).  She turned up her nose in that way girls do and said "I don't like him, I don't want to be his girlfriend".  Another boy gave me a look like "you poor thing, you have to sit beside him" and then proceeded to tell me what this boy has done in his 'past'. 

I turned to them both and I said "It doesn't matter to me what he has done or how you feel about him.  He seems really nice and we're having a good conversation".

He sat next to me in the theatre too.  At intermission he bought himself a bag of chips and a candy bar of which was confiscated by a teacher.  It didn't matter that myself and every other kid had some form of snack in their hand, he wasn't allowed to have his, he was told he wasn't allowed to buy anything (despite the fact that there were vendors walking up and down the aisle selling snacks!).

Why do we do this to kids?  Why do we label them bad because they have made some poor choices. 

At 11 years old this boy most likely doesn't feel he has an option but to behave in the way that he does.  Some of his behaviour is most likely a survival mechanism.  Should he be shamed because he is simply trying to survive?

Our children are not born 'bad' or 'disruptive' or 'dangerous'.  They are taught to believe that these behaviours are acceptable.

My son said to me "Mom, he just doesn't have a very nice home life". 

I am so glad I got to be the one to sit in that seat next to him today.  I'm so glad that I got the opportunity to be the one that God wanted that boy to experience today.

I don't know his whole story.  I don't know the trouble he has caused.  I don't know the truth of the situation.  All I know is that he is a boy, a human being who deserves respect and love because we all deserve respect and love.

That's all I know.


  1. I am so happy for that young boy. To be able to spend time with someone kind and loving like you is a real treat for him I bet. I love that you modelled a different way to treat him to the teacher and other children.

    I must say I am shocked at what the children said about him to you. I am asking myself if it's just kids being honest. But it doesn't feel like that. I think they are hearing adults comment on his behaviour and have learned it's okay to do that.

    Keep on doing what you;re doing Jenn. The world needs your kindness.

  2. You are right Rosemary. If the teachers are excluding him and centering him out then that is what is being taught as acceptable. The teacher even asked me where he was when he had gone off to the bathroom with Benjamin! Like he was the only kid they were interested in keeping an eye on. I'll tell you there were 3 boys right behind me that needed a butt whoopin' and no one even flinched at their disruptive, disrespectful behaviour in that theatre!


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