Jessica and I met today with the principal of Namine’s new school. The experience was by far the best of all the “here’s your new school” tours we’ve taken. (I think the tally is up to three or four by now.)
It remains to be seen if Namine will need the Fontan (her third heart surgery) – the cardiology appointment isn’t until Friday. There’s a quote I like: “Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on.” I think that’s the right attitude to have – for Namine’s own peace of mind, not to mention our own.
The principal took us on a tour of the school, showing us the gyms, the library, and the classroom where Namine would be spending her days. He asked Namine what she liked to do; she was shy at first, but she warmed up to him.
Since our tour was around the time that school let out, the halls soon flooded with children. Walking through the halls, Namine waved and said hi to as many kids as she could. I listened to the chatter, some of which pertained to Namine. I was not displeased.
“That’s Namine. She’s like six or seven. She talks like a two year old, but that’s okay.”
“Why is she in that wheelchair?”
“Her legs aren’t as strong as ours, so she needs it to get around.”
A little boy came up to me. “What’s wrong with her legs?”
“Her legs were born different than yours,” I said. His curiosity satisfied, he approached Namine and said hi. She was, of course, enthusiastic to have made yet another friend.
You might recall words of the principal of Namine’s old school, in response to the our complaints of physical and verbal bullying: “Kids will be kids.” In other words, I can’t or won’t – and I don’t care which – control their behavior. They will act as they will, so deal with it or gtfo.
Well, we did gtfo. And Namine is better for it. But the attitude of the teachers and principal of Namine’s new school is that while kids will be kids, it is also through our example that they see how to treat people. It is through us that they learn. We’re not born knowing right from wrong; we’re born selfish and mean. But our parents (and by extension, the teachers in whose care we place our children) teach us to love.
So yes, kids will be kids. The difference is the example we set. You can teach your child to be prejudiced and hateful, or to be accepting and loving.
Who will your child be?