I have been tied up in stress knots for days because I can't figure why people can't just grow-up, be kind to one another and live positively. I feel exhausted by unnecessary criticism, gossip and judgement that I hear bouncing around workplaces, schools and cyberspace. I am weary of negativity spreading faster than optimism, of bad attitudes being more contagious than The Plague and how being bad has become so cool. I am literally making myself sick with the irritation I have been feeling lately. Clearly, I need to get a grip and some perspective because having a stress melt down won't help anything.
A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook and I thought it was spectacular. It was just the little reminder that I need that there, in fact, is no looming hand basket and the world isn't necessarily going to hell, well not immediately, anyway. Seeing this boy write such a beautiful and heart felt note gave me hope for the future generations. There will always be ButtonHeads in this world but thankfully there will also always be people of intelligence, compassion and kindness ... and it starts with this one kid!
All that follows appeared in an online article by Susan Farrelly for The Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board ...Thanks, Ms. Farrelly for not suing me for stealing this ;-)
He’s not ‘just a boy,’ he’s very special
By Susan Farrelly, Guelph Mercury Community Editorial Board
I was out for lunch with some friends a few days ago and our conversation turned to our children. Most of our conversations do. One friend began to tell us about the struggle that her son is having. He’s in Grade 8 in our community. She shared with us a piece of writing he had produced.
She had asked him to write a pro and con list about going on his school’s Grade 8 graduation trip. But for a spell-checking, this is what he wrote:
I am just a boy who didn’t have any choices about the hell I have endured.
I am just a boy who couldn’t wait to go to school and learn and be liked.
I am just a boy who wanted to make friends and be part of the team.
I am just a boy who didn’t get to realize this dream.
I am just a boy who would walk around the playground, alone and sad, as I watched other kids play soccer and wished they would call me over to join in — just once.
I am just a boy who never got picked for a team and was always last picked in gym class.
I am just a boy who was teased for lacking in athletic ability and mocked for the way I run.
I am just a boy who desperately wanted to share my story but had to suffer in silence for fear of more torment.
I am just a boy who had to suck it up and pretend I was fine and it didn’t matter.
I am just a boy who wanted a friend and a confidant.
I am just a boy who wanted to be accepted for my differences but liked more because of them.
I am just a boy who looked forward to ending my primary school years better than they started.
I am just a boy who wanted to go on the year-end trip with my classmates feeling a sense of belonging.
I am just a boy who just learned that I am not accepted and I don’t belong.
I am just a boy who won’t be victimized anymore and will make choices that will not subject me to the constant messages of you don’t matter or you are a freak.
I am just a boy who will leave elementary school the same way I started, wanting a friend, wanting to feel accepted wanting to be “one of the gang.”
I am just a boy who had to be brave and pretend that none of this hurt.
I am just a boy who is funny and kind and plays by the rules.
I am just a boy who doesn’t understand why subtle yet constant badgering isn’t considered bullying — yet it hurts just as much.
I am just a boy who is tired of waiting for it to stop, waiting for adults to make kids accountable, waiting for a better tomorrow.
I am just a boy who is wishing his childhood away because I hear that adults don’t behave that way.
I am just a boy who loves life, and laughter, and all the things that other kids like and for that I am not different.
I am just a boy who hopes that one kid understands the impact of being so mean, so unkind.
I am just a boy who wonders if they think about the cruel things they say, the cruel things that they do.
I am just a boy who wonders if they are being mistreated and that is why they are so careless with their words that cut through my soul.
I am just a boy who promises to never ever treat anyone like this.
I am just a boy who promises to raise children to be kind and thoughtful and tough enough to stand up to those that don’t.
I am — just a boy.
I hope parents will read this with their children. I hope teachers will read this to their students. I hope teenagers will read it to themselves.
I hope after reading this, when young children are playing on the playground, others take a moment to look up for the child that is playing alone to ask that boy or girl to join them. I hope when a teenager walks into the cafeteria, they aren’t looking for the table that they always sit at with their friends — but looking for that young person sitting alone to go and join.
I hope individuals learn to be careful with their words because they cannot be taken back. I hope when individuals hear a person mocking another they have the strength and courage to stand up and say that is not OK, no matter what the situation is.
I want to thank this young man for letting me share this beautiful piece of writing with our community. I want to tell him he has a very strong voice. The act of writing is powerful. He is beautiful. He is strong. He is a very special boy.