After the events that have taken place today in Sydney, Australia, I wanted to share a good story. Something to remind myself and anyone reading that there is good, even in small things. There will always be good.
One of the principles or values at Emma’s primary school is developing ‘people who are nice to know’. When I first heard it I thought it sounded so dorky, and completely underwhelming. I’m interested in achieving together, doing your best and being the best you you can be, even academic excellence, but being somebody who is nice to know just really didn’t resonate.
But now I get it.
Everyday Harry comes with me when I drop off and pick up Emma from school. Being in kindergarten means that most mornings we all get out of the car and walk Emma to her class, though more and more Emma is asking to do it all on her own (But that’s another story!). Coinciding with Emma starting school we noticed that Harry’s speech wasn’t developing as we had expected… we sought help and he was assessed as having a severe speech impediment. As he has gotten older Harry has become more aware of the issue, and as a result Harry has lacked the confidence to speak to unfamiliar people, more inclined to wave or smile than say hello.
About mid way though the year Harry met Darcy. I don’t know how, but all of a sudden Darcy was in our life. Darcy is in sixth class at Emma’s school (so about 11 years old) and had spent some time in Emma’s classroom, and so I’m guessing that Harry decided that if Emma’s teacher thought he was OK, then he did too. I don’t know him, or his family, outside of him knowing Harry.
Since then, Harry has sought out Darcy every single morning and every single afternoon. He talks about him on the way to and from school. He even said his name when he was coming out of the anesthetic after having his adenoids and grommets done. If Darcy is away, or we have to rush off before they can connect, Harry is so disappointed, often to the point of tears.
And Darcy has been amazing. Never once in all this time has he told Harry he is too busy to play with him. He’s never gotten cranky when Harry stood in the middle of his handball game. Never ignored him because his friends were around. On a couple of occasions he’s had a ball ready to roll or throw or kick with Harry, and he has spent countless mornings chasing Harry from one side of the COLA to the other as it’s Harry’s favorite game.
Let me say again that we don’t know Darcy. He has nothing at all to gain from befriending Harry in the playground, playing with him as his mother watches on. And yet Darcy has been immeasurably kind to a little boy who has lacked confidence to speak to others for fear of getting it wrong. He has never had that fear with Darcy. He has never had Darcy laugh at him or say he couldn’t be understood. Darcy has introduced Harry to his friends, and to a whole raft of other children in the school. Whenever we enter or leave there is a chorus of greetings specially for Harry. And he feels special. He feels welcome in the school and part of its community. Harry has gained so much from the friendship, his confidence has grown and he is comfortable in a big school that will soon be his own.
And when its time to go, when I’m scanning the playground for Harry, I see Darcy telling Harry goodbye and that he needs to go back to his Mum. He points to me so that Harry knows where to go, and he waves till Harry stops waving.
In a world that needs more kindness, Darcy has been so very kind that I couldn’t help but share. This boy is without question ‘somebody who is nice to know’ and I’m grateful that he has given Harry such a wonderful introduction to primary school. He, his family, and his school should be so very proud. I feel grateful that we’ve had this lovely boy come into our life, into Harry’s life, and made him smile.
I realise there will be some that say that this is nothing special, no heroic feat or amazing achievement. But for me it’s these small acts of kindness, the everyday smiles and gestures that make all the difference.
Where there is darkness let’s shine a light.