When I was in kindergarten there was a boy in my class who peed his pants and for years afterword whenever I saw him my first thought would be, “he peed his pants in kindergarten.” Sadly, I have very few other memories of him. All I can remember is what he looked like, that he was teased a lot in school, that he lived with his grandma, and he moved away before 4th grade but would come back to visit once in a while. As an adult whenever I think of him my heart breaks for that little boy who was treated so unkindly.
I wasn’t a bully in school and I got a long with pretty much everybody. For the most part I enjoyed school. With that being said it doesn’t mean I was always the kindest to people or the most understanding, like most school age kids.
Since graduation I have learned more about what some of my fellow classmates had to face while in high school. The loss of a parent(s), their parents going through a vicious divorce, mental illness, drug addiction, sexual abuse, life threatening illnesses, the loss of a sibling, and so on. I wonder how I would have treated my fellow classmates if I had known the struggles and trials they were facing. Would I have been more understanding? Would I have mourned with those who were mourning? Would I have treated them more gently? Tried to not to solely define them by an accident they had in kindergarten? I know my heartaches for the challenges they face now.
So often we become solely focused on our own victories, burdens, and challenges that we forget to look around at what is happening to those around us. We rashly make rude comments too or gossip about people without knowing their full story. Honestly, we may never know the full story because people only tell you what they want you to know. This doesn’t mean we can keep tearing people down because we are ignorant of their challenges. It means we need to start treating others more gently and recognize we are all struggling with challenges seen and unseen.
I will probably never know why that boy lived with his grandma or even why he peed his pants that day in school. But what I can do is start thinking of him as whole person who grows and changes and has trials just like me. I would hate it if someone judged me solely on how I was in high school or when I was getting off some medication that made me feel like I was losing my mind. I would want them to see me for my whole self. My talents, my strengths, my weaknesses, my growth over the years, and the trials I am facing. I would want them to say “Hi” to me at Walmart even if they thought I was a weird cross country runner in high school and recognize I am not that same person.
|Me- during my high school cross-country days|
|Me (currently)- Mom of two and wife to medical student|
I will be doing that likewise.