A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

“…but in the back of that classroom, where he’d talk to me like a normal person instead of someone branded…”

The other day my mom and I were reminiscing about the end of elementary school.  I guess “reminiscing” is the proper word even if the memories weren’t necessarily fond ones.  Although, I can’t say that they were all bad; I do have a few good memories of the end of elementary school, even once everything had already gone to hell in a hand basket.

In the fifth grade, just as things were starting to get to their worst, I sat at the back of the classroom next to this guy.  He was a jock for all intents and purposes.  He loved sports, especially basketball, and in our little fishbowl of a Catholic school liking and being good at sports were necessary to survival.  This guy could get really competitive, just like all of the other guys, but for him, it wasn’t about being the best or the toughest or the most popular: it was always about the love of the game.

This guy was smart too.  Nobody really knew it because they were too blinded by his athleticism, but in the back of that classroom, where he’d talk to me like a normal person instead of someone branded with a scarlet letter “A” (or more accurately, one of those “L”s for loser like Glee is known for), I saw the mind behind the man.  And although he kept silent, he wasn’t ignorant.  While this guy never openly stood up for me or outwardly befriended me, in his own quiet little way, he showed me he sympathized, he cared, he did not condone the way the others treated me.

I can’t remember if it was the fall of fifth or sixth grade, but one autumn night our doorbell rang.  My mom answered the door, and sitting there on the doorstep was a small pail of Halloween goodies and a little note saying I’d been “boo-ed.”  For those of you who have never come across this “tradition,” “boo-ing” typically circulates neighborhoods and elementary schools.  It involves putting together small treat baskets and leaving them on the doorstep, alerting the boo-ee via a doorbell ring, in the spirit of Halloween fun.  The newest boo-ee is then expected to become the boo-er to two more boo-ees in an effort to spread the love and cheer.  Here is a link to a site that explains more: http://christmas.organizedhome.com/crafts/halloween/boo-youve-been-booed-poem-signs

I also don’t remember how we ever ended up finding out that it was this particular guy that left a pail of candy on our doorstep… I think it involved my mom talking with his mom when they both were volunteering the same shift in the school cafeteria.  But it was a small act of kindness that I wouldn’t soon forget.  It is one of the few memories from late elementary school that I recall with fondness.  Eight years later.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” -Leo Buscaglia

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou

Thank you to this particular guy who made me feel worthwhile even while the rest of our class was making me feel worthless.  Your kindness will never be forgotten.  God bless.




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