Being a pre-teen is not always bubble gum and Instagram. For many young ladies especially in our society, it can be extremely difficult emotionally and socially. This summer I had the opportunity to watch my Biggest Little Teacher (BLT) turn a class camping trip- gone- bad, into a moment of kindness and support for another.
As a finale to my BLT’s 10 year term at her amazing school, we decided to send her off with her classmates to Catalina for a week of fun in the sun. There was no cellular use or Facetime, so for 5 full days we had no contact. I assumed “no news was good news” and could not wait to hear all about it when she got back. I excitedly raced to the pick up location, hugged her all up and settled her into our car to hear every detail of her trip. Once inside, my stomach grew a rock and my heart raced as I watched her big brown eyes well up with tears and spill onto her dark sun tanned cheeks.
“Oh Honey, what’s the matter”? I asked. BLT just put her head in her hands and sobbed and sobbed. Because I can’t stand when she is sad, I began shotgunning questions at her like, “Are you hurt?”, “Do you feel sick”? etc. Finally after about 10 minutes, she turns to me and tells me how she made a mistake. She was starving and had taken a cookie from her friend (who she has known for 10 years) without asking. She was planning to tell her and apologize when she saw her next. But, another girl who saw her take it went and told the friend that BLT had stolen a lot of cookies. Both of these girls were BLTs tent mates, and as the stories got bigger and bigger, so did the tension in the tent. BLT offered apology after apology, but her friend would not hear of it. The other girl kept egging on the situation causing even more anxiety and anger. BLT was very sad that her friend would not speak to her or even look at her. To make matters worse, the girls in her tent vandalized her belongings when she was away from camp. BLT felt sad, confused and alone.
BLT became very distraught and cried a lot that day at camp. On the 3rd day some of the older girls who were there to assist, took BLT under her wing and gave her encouragement and support. They were like angels with impeccable timing. That same day, the two girls took BLT’s belongings and dropped them in the dirt and told her to “find another tent to stay in”. Luckily, BLT was able to room with the older girls and a bunch of other campers that were having a blast! Gratefully, the last two nights she made new friends and had fun. But, the pain of loosing a friend and feeling terrible for breaking her trust stayed with her for a long time.
A week after returning from Catalina, we were swimming at our community pool. I was busy with my 2 year old and BLT was off swimming with another girl I had never seen before. I was happy to see BLT making new friends. When the girl left, I asked BLT who her new friend was. She replied by explaining how she witnessed her being bullied. She was in the jacuzzi and heard two other girls saying mean things about her new friend. They were scheming of ways to “ditch” her and so forth. So, BLT went up to the girl being bullied and said, “I know how it feels to be bullied, I just went through a week of it at camp”. BLT befriended this girl and they had fun swimming together until they all had to leave.
I felt inspired by BLT’s courage and friendly support. It gave me a feeling of hope and an instant heart opening. Angels are always with us and they often appear when we are willing to receive the help. I am grateful for the Angels BLT found in Catalina, and I was encouraged when BLT payed it forward a few days later. With the awareness BLT offered me, I look forward to the moment when I can reach out to another in need.
I love you so much my sweet ever growing Teacher!
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