On my drive to work I pass a primary school about ten minutes before nine. It’s one of my favourite parts of the morning because over the months I’ve come to know these familiar faces. I see the boy in his grey shorts holding on to mum’s hand while she is also managing a rather large (slightly overweight!) scrunched up face dog, who sometimes wears a waistcoat. They both look very happy. I see the fair haired teacher welcoming the kids into the playground with the enthusiasm as if this was her first day. Sometimes I see the four boys about six who cheekily have their noses against the fence and wave at cars giggling with force if they catch you waving back! I see the grandmother holding on to twins carefully and I’ve seen the shy young girl who falters at the gate not wanting to let her dad’s hand go.
On Friday I saw something that made me sad. Three girls of about seven. Two walked off indignantly with their arms around each other’s shoulders as they left one girl standing behind. Alone. Sad. She looked as they walked away leaving her. There had been a row, of that there was no doubt and two had ganged up against one and one was left standing. Alone. And she looked so hurt. It was at most five seconds but I can still see her small features with a pony tail, her head slightly bowed as she was left in a sea of loneliness.
I wondered why. What had she done that was so bad. Had she done anything? Why would they treat her like that. I wondered if they’d be friends again by lunch time. Probably. I hope so.
When we were five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Even when we were teenagers, we were finding our feet. We didn’t understand fully about manners or space or respect. We may not have understood the importance of accepting differences. Of how valuable support is. We may not have fully understood how we could hurt someone deeply with a single word. Seven year old us might not have understood the deep pain in the act of isolation. Our young selves may not have understood the awfulness of unkindness.
It’s forgivable to watch children find their way and learn what’s right and wrong. We’ve all been there.
When we get to adulthood, fundamentally, we know how to treat people. We shouldn’t ever have someone in our life where we want them to feel alone, hurt and isolated.
Sounds over simplistic? Be nice be patient. See the best in someone..offer support. Agree to disagree. Don’t be the one walking off leaving metaphorical seven year old child feeling alone or isolated or sad.
It doesn’t cost anything to be kind.
I’ve said it before and I’ll probably write about it again!!
Happy… be kind…. Sunday x x x