Act #354: Say something kind to the outliers.
Today is the last day of school before the holiday break, also known as pajama day at my son's elementary school. His first grade class will have a holiday-themed party complete with cookies and hot chocolate. He has been debating which pajamas to wear for the last three days. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I dropped him off yesterday, and I saw a little girl, probably about 9 or 10 years old, wearing snuggly one-piece pajamas. She was the only one in the K-5 assembly who had pajamas on. She was also substantially larger than most kids in the gym, and she was standing quietly and awkwardly in the back corner away from the classes. And you know what the initial reaction of this 41 year-old social activist mother was? The words appalling, embarrassing, despicable come to mind.
I couldn't wait to get back to my car and post something witty on Facebook like, "Epic fail, kiddo. Christmas jammies the day before pajama day."
And then I imagined her face as she stood there shifting her weight back and forth between her left and right feet. She had this look of anticipation on her face - hoping that maybe someone else might walk into this gym wearing their pajamas too. But nobody did. So there I was faced with the perfect Plain Jane opportunity to do something, say something kind and compassionate like, "Cool jammies kiddo!" Something, anything, more than staring and secretly mocking. Words that showed her that she wasn't alone, that people get things wrong all the time and it's no big deal. But instead, I almost used social media to further embarrass her. The epic fail was all mine.