One day I was with a class.
A student came in crying after recess and put her head down on her desk. I told her I needed to do attendance but I would come talk to her right afterwards.
I sat down to do attendance with the class on the carpet but my heart kept being pulled to glance over in between every couple of names I called to check on her visually.
Previously she had told me: “People make fun of me because I play with dolls”. I told her how awesome that was and how creatively unique she is and how her imagination must be full force!
She smiled, but I could still see pain behind the sparkle in her eyes.
As I finished calling all the kids names for attendance she stood up abruptly and said:
“I am so lonely. The reason I play with dolls is because so many people make fun of me and I have no one to play with so I turn to playing with dolls. I also have ADHD and that makes things challenging for me as well.”
I looked at the class and could feel the sadness which was so heavy in the room. Some of the kids were tearing up. I asked her to really look at everyone in the class and see how affected they were by what she just shared. Then I turned my attention back to the class and asked: “Does anyone else feel sad or like crying right now?”
Every single one of their little hands went up in the air. A few boys said that one of their eyes was crying. I told her I want her to know we all understand feeling lonely at some point in our lives.
I turned to them and said now you know how she feels so you need to be a more inclusive and a kinder human being with her and everyone else you come into contact with.
Then one of the kids who is the class clown stood up and asked if he could share a sad story. He started to cry and was so taken aback by his own emotions that he touched his own face and said “Wow, I am crying! I’m really crying. ” Then he laughed.
The whole class including me were surprised as he had definitely not shown this vulnerable side before. He went on to say that in grade 1 no one wanted to be his friend and how he really understood what it was like to be lonely!!!
After that another boy said he feels like he has no friends in the class and immediately a bunch of boys rallied around him and told him they are his friends! It was so touching and beautiful.
Later on another girl was talking to me during an indoor recess. She was saying how she to felt like she also had no friends and had come from two other schools that no one wanted to be friends with her there either. She kept going over and over the stories and details.
As we were talking there was another girl sitting across from us listening to her talking and I could feel her interest and compassion towards the first little girl. I asked the other girl if they were friends and she enthusiastically answered “Yes!”.
I turned to the first girl and said to her “Sometimes our earlier experiences of the past are difficult and we somehow miss seeing a new experience in the present moment. I can see you do have friends and there are people who really like you. Can you start shifting what you see and focus on that?” She said yes! Then the two girls turned to each other and giggled, and began talking about what they were going to play together. My heart was so happy and it made me reflect on my own challenges of seeing things in the present and not the past stories.
At the end of the day the whole class told me they couldn’t wait to have me back. One kid said he was already planning what he was going to tell his teacher so I could come back and be their teacher again! Another child told me ” I don’t know what it is, but you just get it. You really get it. When I grow up I want to be a teacher just like you!”
That made me feel amazing.