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Where Do You Belong?

Today I was supervising students in the cafeteria at lunch. I saw a group of grade 9 boys come in. One boy was trailing behind and he caught my eye. The group gathered into a circle with this boy clearly on the outside. I began to watch more closely. He was listening, but not being included in the conversation. He fidgeted. The kind you do when you are uncomfortable. Eventually, without a word, he walked away from the group out of the cafeteria. On his way, I noticed his jeans were a good 3 inches above the tops of his runners.

I only spent about a minute watching this little exchange, but after I found myself wondering what I could have done to make it different for that boy. My initial feeling was that I should have walked up to the group of boys, none of whom I knew, told them they were being rude and asked them to do a better job of including the boy on the outskirts. Then I would have turned to the boy and told him I was taking him jean shopping after school.

Obviously, this gut reaction wouldn't have served its purpose for a plethora of reasons, but still, I felt utterly helpless to help this poor boy. I just kept thinking of the feeling I have when I am somewhere I don't know anyone - especially a place where everyone else is with someone they know. I hate it. Sometimes I won't even go to things unless Hugh will go with me. It doesn't matter if I will know people there. I don't like going alone. If my gut is right, this boy comes to school everyday with that same awful feeling of wondering who you going to sit with or who you are going to talk to.

In the end, I wish I had been on his exit path. In the very least, I could have smiled, said hi, and shown him some kindness. The great thing about my high school is that there are dozens of different kinds of kids. I hope this boy finds a group where he feels belonging.


  1. Growing up is so hard, and it is even harder for kids like him, who feel rejected from their peers. I sincerely hope he finds some good friends. It breaks me heart when I see a kid being excluded:(

  2. I want to go jean shopping with him too. Trying to think of solutions: I probably don't know anyone who has an older pair of jeans that would fit him better, but I am sure there are lots of kids at school with jeans in their closets that they don't wear and that would fit this boy.

    Jean exchange program in the school, or maybe between schools? Jordan, is there a nice kid at school that would volunteer to give him a pair of their older, but still in good shape jeans?

    I know it isn't a complete solution, but I agree with Jordan & Ader's moto: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good.


  3. Cool idea with the jeans exchange - it would be a good idea to bring forward to the SRC or to your Bears Aware group. I am going to put this idea forward to my SRC!


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