We have all read the beautiful story about a middle school child who walks into the lunchroom to sit by another student who is alone. Maybe the child sitting alone has a disability, maybe not. Maybe that child has unique quirks that are difficult to understand. Maybe that child has a difficult home life or is battling an inner war we know nothing about. Maybe not. Maybe that child is just in need of a friend.
We grow up in categories and are lumped into groups….regular education, special education, speech delay, gifted and talented. These groups stick with children for most of their school life. During a time of trying to figure out who they are, they are given titles to identify themselves. They look around for peers with a similar title and try to fit in.
We are firm believers that all children have gifts. There are children who can walk into a room and make everyone feel happy and wanted. Others can make a seed sprout into a plant with just dirt and water. While there are other children who understand math quickly or are talented in music. With the proper guidance, each of these kids will grow into happy, healthy adults. We must teach our children how to accept each other. The math whiz can be great friends with the farmer. Or they can decide not to be friends, but still recognize the importance of the other’s gift. No matter the gifts your child has, we need to model for and teach to our children how to accept each other for exactly who they are. We need to teach our children that their gifts are special and unique to them, but it does not take away from someone else’s gift. We are showing our children that there is enough for all of us; enough love, kindness, and happiness. Once we know this and teach it to our children they will begin to embrace who they are without labels. Some of these children will cross the barrier and sit with the kid who is sitting alone. These kids will continue to inspire all of us to be more compassionate.
Christina and Wendy