Healing The Silent Hurts

My son came home today with a giant piece of paper with his name written in the middle, surrounded by several incredibly kind words and phrases that his friends had used to describe him. He was beaming with pride when he showed me. It was, by far, his proudest moment in school to date.
To be recognized and appreciated for who we are, and to know that we are truly seen, is something that we all need in life.
When I was in grade 4, I was the new kid in school. Early on the school year I only had a few friends, and my self esteem was fragile at best. Our teacher decided one day to make the kids in our class stand up at the front of the room one by one so everyone could take turns saying something nice about them. Most of these kids had known each other since kindergarten, so their comments were the heartwarming, fun and silly sorts of things that you would expect to be said. I sat, slumped down low in my chair hoping the teacher wouldn’t see me, while I listened miserably to person after person being praised.
Eventually though, I had to take my turn. I stood, sullenly, beside the teacher’s desk with my back to the chalk board, and stared at my shoes. The room was quiet. There was a creaky spot in the floor under my foot, and I pushed on it a few times with my toe. I scratched my arm and looked up at the class.
“You’re the nicest person I’ve ever met,” said the girl directly in front of me.
“You’re really funny, too,” said the boy beside her.
I stared in disbelief as one by one the kids in my class took turns piecing my self confidence back together. Their words helped me to redefine the fractured image I had of myself. I had no idea any of these kids even knew my name, yet here they were telling me all sorts of truths that I had long since stopped believing. I wished they had told me sooner, but I was so grateful to be hearing it for the first time.
This is the kind of thing that I want to see more of in our schools. I want to see our kids building each other up with their words and their actions. I want our kids to know that they are valued, not just at home, but among their peers and in their community. I want our kids to also stand up and say something when they see that someone doesn’t value themselves. Kind words and an open heart can go a long way to healing the silent hurts of the world.
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58 thoughts on “Healing The Silent Hurts

  1. My 5 year old came home one day with a piece of paper very similar. His name was at the top and underneath were all the things his classmate liked about him. It was cute to see things ranging from liking his shoes to being really funny and caring. Cheers to great teachers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kids hell. I just experienced this as an adult in the workplace, following my own belly of the whale experience. We can know what we know but without that validation we convince ourselevs that somehow we must be mistaken about what we know about ourselves. At the age of 57 I am just now learning that my view of myself must not come throught the thought of others, for there are too many people and too many thoughts. Yes, it starts with the children but some of us struggle always…so glad those kids lifted you up.

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  3. This is so touching! I love that story. I recently done a yoga session for kids in my daughter class, and the theme was gratitude. Next time I ll include this beautiful little exercise. You must have felt so happy, thank you for sharing this very inspiring post 🙂

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  4. This is such a heartwarming beautiful post. I could not agree more. Instead of bullying and cliques, if teachers can encourage kids to focus on seeing the positive and promote that as a standard, well…what a difference that makes. Love your story, of your experience. So well put.

    Peta

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    • Thank you so much! I think it’s easy for teachers to encourage positive interactions among the students when they are still young, but I agree that it needs to become the standard even as they get older. Even teenagers need to hear that they are valued and loved.

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    • I was so happy when I found out this was happening in my son’s classroom. My older son had yet to experience this with any of his teachers. I’m going to bring it up as a suggestion for all teachers in the school to use from time to time.

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  6. We do this in our family when one of us is sad. We call them affirmations, and we tell each other something we love about the others. It is very healing and bonding. I imagine doing it as school would be fantastic. Great story, well written.

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  7. Love this post! It’s awesome that your son’s teacher did that. At my son’s school, they sometimes get an opportunity to write a buddy note and send a couple people a special note with a kind comment on it. He has saved them all ❤

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