We have a high school across the street that uses our local library pretty regularly. Mostly the students just hang out in the foyer or read books in the young adult section. I’m not sure what they are supposed to be doing. We see them around noon. Maybe it’s their lunch break? Maybe it’s study hall?
Anyway, just today, we visited the library. We go often, and my kids are very comfortable there. They all spread out to different sections and look for their books and videos to check out. Once they are finished, they can play on one of the kids’ computers or go outside on a balcony while they wait for the rest of us. My twelve year old son is really, really, really innocent when it comes to other people. I mean, he doesn’t realize that sometimes some kids are just being mean. And that was the case today.
Some high schoolers came in, laughed and flopped loudly into the chairs near the balcony, ridiculed him through the glass doors. He never heard them, but I did. And as he walked back inside, they not only laughed, but pulled out a camera to video him.
As my boy walked back inside, I called him to me, asked him to stand there until they left, and then explained to him that they were making fun of him. Amazingly, he didn’t see any of this. He was completely untouched by it, and he confidently walked straight to the front of the library and check out his books.
How could he be unscathed by those boys? Well, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the sweet spirit that he has. Whatever the case, I was grateful for his ability to ignore it.
On the way home my son and I got talking about how his little sister, the one he’s been rather coarse with lately, was speaking with such big science words. Where did she learn that from? Of course from her science crazy brother! It was a light bulb moment for him to realize that the things he said, the way he acted really made an impression on his younger sisters.
I chewed on these two events all week, and then I wrote a short letter to address what I needed to say.
I know you mean it all in fun when you laugh at and ridicule other kids, but I want you to know that you make a difference. You can choose to make a positive or negative difference in someone’s life, but rest assured, you will make a difference. Likewise, others make a difference in your life. Do you choose to ridicule someone because you were ridiculed? It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? It is unfortunate and inappropriate for someone to have done so to you. But here’s the thing. You can stop the cycle. See, that quirky kid just wants to smile and say hello to brighten your day. I know your friends are watching, and you want to look cool and be accepted by them, but you don’t have to find your worth in what others think of you. You are worthy, young person, because you were created by a God that cares about you. Regardless of what this world full of broken people says about it, you need to know that you were created to bring joy to God by showing that you care. And there are so many people that just need a smile, a hello, a handshake, a “How are you today?” The way you act will impact those around you. Please consider making that impact a positive one. It’s not all in play, and you do make a difference.