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All I Want For Christmas.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

All I Want For Christmas.

Earlier this month I was thinking about posting all these things I was finding on etsy and at Anthropologie that I was loving for Christmas. I never got around to it.

And today, I honestly, had no plans {or time} for blogging.

But something happened this morning and my heart has been hurting all day over it and I just have to get my words out.

So here goes.

Growing up, every single year for Christmases, birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day, you name it, my parents asked for happy, content children.

I used to scoff at the request.

When you're little and you've got a few dollars burning a hole in your pocket this is NOT what you want to hear. You want to hear what you can buy and wrap up and watch them open.

I get it now, and I long for that for my children.

To be content. To realize the blessings they have. To be thankful for what they've got instead of always thinking of more or bigger or better.

But I'm taking it one further.

I want to teach my kids empathy. I want them to see beyond themselves. To feel for those around them. To reach out to those who need a friend.

I helped in M's class today. The fourth graders were making Christmas trees with hangers, tinsel and strings of lights. T did this project two years ago and his tree still stands in our living room window. It's a pretty neat craft.

Eighty fourth graders in a room, four or five teachers and a handful of parents. I sat with M and her friends. A giddy, bubbling group of girls. I was helping M with her lights and then I saw this little girl all alone. Quietly sitting away from most of the others and then I saw her arm raised and her eyes darting around as though she didn't want anyone to see her but she needed help.

I walked over and asked her if she needed help. She nodded yes. I sat and helped her while a couple of M's friends stared.

I made small talk with her while I helped her with her lights and offered her M's leftover tinsel since she had none.

I know barely anything about this little girl.

I don't know if she's a new kid in town or if she used to be a meanie. I don't know if she's just a quiet girl or if she's quiet because she's been made fun of so much but I do know that today, she was sad. She was withdrawn and left out and it made me so sad.

And I left school with watery eyes just thinking about how it would feel to think about one of my kids left out and alone at school like that.

I haven't even talked to M about it yet but I plan to.

All day long this little girl has sat on my heart.

And I wanted to make it better. Different. Right.

I admit I've done my share of making fun and being exclusive throughout my life. And I've fallen victim to both being made fun of {anyone remember telling me I walk like a duck?} and being left out too.

Neither of which I remember or look back on fondly.

But my grown up self can handle it now and make good adult choices now about how I treat others, how others treat me and also about being inclusive.

But thinking, just thinking, about one of my kids as the little girl I saw today, breaks my heart.

So in addition to happy, healthy, content children, I've got just one more thing to add. A heart for others.

May J and I, as parents, live our lives in such a way that our kids are empathetic towards others. That their hearts hurt for those that are hurting and that they want to make things right.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity

Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me your heart for the one's forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see -Brandon Heath

{As an aside, I want to clarify that I don't necessarily think M did anything wrong today and in no way am I saying, she isn't empathetic. She has a great big heart, but today's situation made it even more clear to me of how important it is to teach our children the value of caring for others.}


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to laugh a little bit... I NEVER once thought you walk like a duck!! :) I will have to look next time I see you... kidding! This broke my heart to read. I think it is so hard today to teach kids to put the "popularity contest" aside and think of how we make people feel. Even as adults this is hard. I too, hope my kids learn this skill, of making everyone feel valuable!

December 22, 2010 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Oh my gosh. Reading the details just made me sob. Good thing nobody else is in the office anymore. I just want to hug all kids in that situation and tell them IT DOES GET BETTER. ugh. I hope you let us know if you find out anymore about this girl from M.

December 22, 2010 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

This makes my heart hurt so much - and like you, I know I've been on both sides of it in my life (and am not necessarily proud of some of it). As an adult, there is so much I want to go back and tell nine year old me, 13 year old me, etc. An old church choir director of mine who has since passed away used to teach us to treat anyone we encountered with respect because "that person could be Jesus" - I struggle with this concept, even as an adult, but it's so important to try because hey, we don't know what form Jesus may take when he comes back to earth. I'll pray for this girl. Thank you for sharing this, even if it was hard to write.

December 23, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger The Bishops said...

Samara - You DO teach your children how to have a big heart. Your set a perfect example for all those kids that day. By being aware of someone else, and by reaching out when someone needs a hand. What a beautiful thing to show them. I pray this little girl has more people like you in her life.

December 23, 2010 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger Gina said...

What a great post S! I remember being on both sides of the fence, although I remember getting made fun of more often than not. Teaching children empathy is such an important lesson. This story as well made my heart ache...

December 23, 2010 at 1:18 PM  

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