Sometimes, we think we know a lot about people whom we don’t know personally. We make a lot of assumptions based on our own ideas and views based solely on outward appearances.
When we moved here, Ella was in the 5th grade and Kaleb was in 6th. Ella immediately found her place socially. She is an outgoing young lady with a very active social life. Kaleb didn’t really talk to anyone on his first day, and he still doesn’t talk to many people at his school.
No one made the effort to talk with Kaleb his first day at the bus stop… or any other place on any other day. He was a new kid, but none of the kids in his grade really knew because many schools feed into the middle school. I imagine the other kids just thought he was from one of the other elementary schools in town.
I have worried about Kaleb’s lack of friendships in his school. He has a couple guys he will mention, but he never wants to invite them to hang out. I have worried that he might be a bit of an outcast.
Ella, being the opposite of Kaleb at school and having a broad social circle, hears a lot about other kids. The other day she was telling my husband about the way other boys talk about Kaleb. It put my mind at ease, and it made me laugh.
Although he doesn’t have a strong friend group, everyone knows him, and he has godlike status.
Kids talk about how tough he is. They say he is incapable of pain. They see him walking around with his headphones in, not really talking to people, and it has created an idea that he is so cool that he doesn’t need anyone else. He has a mystique to him.
You all, he is listening to Eragon on audiobook.
Let that sink in.
He is walking around listening to a fantasy audiobook.
Middle school kids are under the impression he is walking around being awesome. I, of course, think he is awesome (especially for listening to the audiobook), but his classmates might not hold that same view if they knew what he is doing.
Also, he doesn’t not talk to other kids because he is too cool. He is just a tiny bit reserved, and no one talked to him first. He kind of ended up here because it was awkward to talk after no one talked for a while. He has also been in class groupings with a lot of kids that aren’t rule followers, and he is a rule follower. He hasn’t been interested in being part of their social activities.
He is an enigma to them. How can a tall, athletic, good-looking 8th grade guy not hang out with the popular kids, or anyone for that matter, and just not care? Shouldn’t he be trying to impress them all?
His peers imagine he is doing something tough and cooler than everyone else. He is lost in a world of dragons and swords slightly oblivious to his classmates.
He is awesome and amazingly cool. They just don’t know why. They think they know, and they kind of do, but they are missing it.
My adorable boy and his middle school status is a sweet reminder that we might not always know everything we think we know. If we really want to know who someone is, we have to engage.
It reminds me to withhold judgment, good or bad. I don’t know the whole picture. I don’t know the soundtrack playing in the background. If I want life to be richer and know who people really are, I have to get close enough to hear what they hear and speak simple words in daily living.