Anyone who knows me (in the real world) knows that I have a really hard time with stupid. Stupid annoys me and can easily make me mad. To me, stupid is often willful or simply lazy. Some people would rather say something stupid than spend a little extra energy on an actual thought. The titles of those buzz feed articles and picture sets, drive me right around the fucking bend. The assumptions that they are making are awful:
1. What makes you think my faith in anything needs to be renewed?
2. How do you know I think humanity sucks?
3. How do you know that my opinion isn’t valid?
Sometimes, life is wall to wall shit. There are not enough lol-cats or inspirational sunsets in the world to change that. How dare you think that my feelings and or convictions could be so easily changed. Pictures of people doing nice things or good deeds should not be so out of the ordinary that a picture of it will change my outlook on the world. Those things should be the norm.
On to the real world thing that made me happy….
I should mention that there are a great many things that make me happy. I think that there are more things that make me happy than there are things that make me angry, though some days it’s too close to call.
I work in a grade school as an educational assistant. This means, broadly, that I’m there to support the teachers and the kids in a variety of ways. Very specifically, I’m the one who deals with a lot of the behaviour problems and also with those kids who have special needs of some sort. This is a very simplistic view of what I do, but a more complicated explanation would be very, very long. One of my little guys has autism. He’s in a regular classroom, which is awesome, but needs a fair bit of individual support to navigate the routines, social interactions and sheer chaos of a grade 3 class. This kid is awesome. He’s seriously the highlight of my day, even when he tries to bite me.
We’ve recently started trying to get him out on the main yard for recess. For the past few months he’s been inside at recess, with me. Being on the yard with a couple hundred other kids was difficult for him. Yesterday was day two of recess on the yard. Generally I keep him away from any tag type games. They usually end with him tackling some one to the ground or initiating a game of tag with people who don’t know that they are now playing tag.
Yesterday, about 50 kids were playing a game called Manhunt. If I understood it properly, someone would be it and anyone they caught would also be it, so on, until there was no one left. Sounds fun. My little pal wanted to join in. He didn’t seem too ramped up by the idea so I let it happen, staying close to prevent any problems. He volunteered to be “it” because he LOVES to chase people. The game starts and everyone scatters. He’s about to start running when a grade 6 girl approaches him. She’s one of the nicer kids I know. She can take and joke and make one of her own right back (an important skill for anyone who spends more than a couple minutes talking to me). She says to my guy “Hey ________, are you it?” He tells her he is. She holds out her hand to be tagged, which he does. She then tells him “Awesome! Let’s go catch everyone else.” She took his hand in hers and off they went. She made sure he knew who was fair game to chase. She was quickly joined by two of her friends from grade 5. The four of them spent about 30 minutes playing together. They would tell him who they should try and catch and then work with him to try and get them. He had an amazing time. He finished recess, beet red and out of breath and smiling from ear to ear. He played an amazing chase game and didn’t tackle anyone. It was an utter joy to behold.
The thing that moved me the most and made me happiest, was the choice by those girls, to play with him. You see, he’s often targeted by other kids because he’s so easy to get going and once he’s going it’s a bit like a hurricane – it’s loud and scary and potentially dangerous. These girls did the exact opposite with him and it had been a long time since I’d seen anyone make that choice.
Each one of those girls got my sincere thanks and a large colourful award ribbon, made out of duct tape: The Mr. Geoff Award of Awesome.
Those girls are the kind of thing that will restore a person’s flagging faith in humanity.
Thanks for reading.