It was hat day at school. I believe it was the very last time Monster ever participated in a spirit day. He was in third grade. He came home with no hat on. I asked him where it was. He told me he was asked to keep it in his book bag. I asked him if he was playing with it. He told me no, and no other explanations. His teacher reached out to me. She had asked him to keep it in his book bag because this other child kept taking his hat and throwing it around the room. Since she could not control this child, it was just easier for Monster to take off the hat. I am not criticizing his third grade teacher. She was amazing. Let's now look at what other kids went home and said, "[Monster] had to take his hat off and wasn't allowed to wear it today". Parents thought, "Wow, what a bad kid". What if they knew?
In first grade, Monster's teacher didn't know how to deal with a child who was so advanced. She set him aside and had him read on his own. She then got frustrated when he finished his work before everyone else and read. Letters began coming home every day about him not paying attention. [Note, this teacher is no longer in our district] Soon, kids would go home telling their parents how Monster had gotten yelled at. How Monster had gotten in trouble. Let me be very clear here, he was not a distraction to the class. He was not mean. He did not disruptive. He read. All the time. He finished all his work, correctly, and read. What if they knew?
It was like this for most of elementary school. Parents treated Monster differently because of what their children came home and said. They still do. But what if they knew? What if they knew their kids called him names? What if they knew their kids pushed him down on the playground? What if they knew their children would put him up to things they knew were wrong because they wanted to laugh at him? What if they knew?
And what if they actually knew Monster? What if they knew that one of the current first grade teachers stopped to tell me how amazing and patient he is with the students he works with? What if they knew what the adults at karate thought of him with his good attitude and willingness to help out? What if they knew that his teachers from 5th grade on tell us how wonderful he is? What if they knew how anyone who has ever had him over to their house has told us how polite he is and he's always welcome to come over? What if they knew that parents of kids at karate tell me how wonderful he is and how much their kids like him and look up to him? What if they knew that he was never the "bad" kid and just the kid who wasn't challenged? What if they knew?
What if they knew that Monster is true to who he is? What if they knew he learned his lessons the hard way that he doesn't need to be friends with people who don't like him for who he is? What is they knew he has more confidence and respect for himself at age 13 than their children will ever grow to have? What if they knew that he doesn't care what their opinions are of him and he knows whose opinions to value? What if they knew that he's a better person than their judgmental selves will ever be? I'm pretty sure if they knew, they'd dislike him even more. They are the people who will never admit they were wrong. They are the people who don't care about the truth. They are the people who will continue to believe they are better than others and will always judge. What if they knew we knew they will never be more than arrogant, judgmental people with nothing better to do then put others down to make themselves feel better? What if they knew?