29 August 2012
The specifics of what I could have done for him are a bit on the hazy side. Perhaps I could have opened up my classroom to him and others like him at break and lunchtime, instead of scenting freedom and staffroom cameraderie the moment the bell sounded and sprinting off to join my colleagues. I could have talked to him more, and helped him more in class instead of trying to micromanage his classmates' behaviour. Like his other teachers, I was kind and sympathetic and I'd have done anything I could to protect him from bullying if I'd witnessed it. But I wish I'd done more for him.
I was reminded of that particular boy last week when I read a stunningly beautiful post called The Talk on Momastery, which I'd urge you to read too. It provoked tears and memories and feelings of guilt and determination to do better next time. It's one of those posts that everyone should read because it might cause us, one by one, to remember the importance of making a difference and the importance of encouraging others to do so too. The Talk is aimed at children returning to school in September for a new academic year, but who among us doesn't know someone - at work or in our neighbourhood or at the school gates or at church or anywhere else - who needs to be noticed and cared for and acknowledged and loved? There is no value in having kind thoughts and intentions if they don't manifest themselves in kind actions. There is so much value in bravery and kindness. Far more, sometimes, than we realise.
I find it far easier to sit comfortably inside my nice little bubble than to reach outside it and help someone who's in need. But I should. I wish I'd done more for that twelve-year-old boy when I had the opportunity. And it's rarely that we wish we'd done less for someone, isn't it?