The recess bell rang and that was my cue to pack up my little daycare family and head for home.
We took a few minutes to shake the sand out of our shoes first, so recess was in full swing by the time we made our way across the tarmac and out of the school ground.
I noticed a boy leaning against a brick wall in an alcove, out of sight from the rest. The moment I noticed him, I thought of the days my second son attended that same school. He got picked on a lot in those days. When I asked him where the teachers were, he said this happened out of their line of sight.
I saw "my son" standing there when I noticed this boy and I was on high alert to be aware of anyone who may be lurking and just waiting for an opportunity to pick on this boy without being noticed.
No one else was around. This secluded area seemed to be the place this boy went to "endure" recess.
He had a look about him that shouted to me "I feel different", "I don't fit in here". Recess looked very uncomfortable on him.
After we passed him, I kept looking back and checking on him. Was he okay? Did anyone else notice him? Was there anything I should have done?
I was walking with a stroller full of joy. I watch people of all ages and sizes light up like a Christmas tree when my little group of children beckon and wave and say hello. I could have tried to walk a little closer to see if my little people could spread some of their "happy".
I felt like an interloper as we exited the school ground. Adults and children are very wise to be cautious of people who hang around playgrounds. I don't think I looked like a threat to anyone as I made my way home with my three little ones who had just finished playing at the playground. But I still didn't feel it was right to approach this young boy.
I wondered as I walked home. How would my children have handled finding a student who had voluntarily segregated himself from the crowd?
One of the blog authors I read is the mother of two autistic children and one of her biggest concerns is exactly what I saw. "How will they be treated by others in the big, scary world out there?"
Glennon Doyle, from Momastery publishes a letter she wrote to her son at the beginning of each school year "The One Letter to Read Before Sending Your Child to School"
I am grateful for eyes that have been opened enough to see what was invisible to me before. As I looked up the "One Letter to Read..." and started to reread it, suddenly I "knew" what to do.
I printed off the letter and I will stop by at the school today and tell them this little story of what I saw at recess yesterday. I will give them a copy of Glennon's letter and hope that it falls in good hands.
I know the schools are doing all they can, with the limited resources they have. The one resource they do have is their student body. One student can make all the difference in the world to one scared and lonely child.
If schools taught nothing more than compassion for those we do not understand, our world could become just a little bit of a better place.