Thank you, parents and teachers who are teaching your kids kindness

I was nervous about Bryan starting preschool. Actually, I was full on anxious. But not about whether he was ready or about being away from me for 2 1/2 hours a day. I was anxious that he wouldn’t make any friends. I worried his independent play tendencies would isolate him from the other kids, and that his differences would pin him as the outcast.

I had every reason to be anxious. I’ve seen this in action, in my own schools growing up and in stories I hear from other special needs moms.

I wasn’t really sure how Bryan was doing interacting with other students until I went with him on his field trip to the pumpkin patch.

When we arrived at his classroom, two girls immediately ran up to him and said, “Bryan, come color with us!” They each took one of his hands and led him to the coloring station, helped him get a picture and some crayons, and pulled up a chair for him. I was so touched by their inclusiveness and helpfulness.

At the pumpkin patch I observed children actively include my son. They encouraged him to join their game of tag, and didn’t care that he didn’t know the rules, they played his way. They gave him hugs and knew his name, not minding that he didn’t know theirs. They talked to him and didn’t skip a beat when he didn’t talk back.

One little girl would wait for him at the bottom of the big tube slide at the patch, and hold his hand to run back to the ladder with him.

That was a couple weeks ago. I really thought that was as good as it could get!

Today I arrived early to the pick up line. They kids were out on the playground, and I searched for Bryan’s shark coat and dinosaur hat. I found him and watched him go down the slide.

I saw a boy waiting for Bryan so they could slide down together.

A girl who held his hand going up the ramp.

A group of kids who jumped up and down with him for a reason I couldn’t tell.

A girl who helped him up and down the playground stairs, and later helped him find and put on his backpack when it was time to go home.

I sat in my car and cried a little while I watched this beautiful kindness unfold. My heart full of joy at watching my son be the recipient of such compassion. Such acceptance.

So I want to thank you. Parents and teachers everywhere. All you who teach your kids how to treat those who are different than them. All of you who show them that kindness is the most important thing.

Thank you.

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