James, I am so glad that you talked to me tonight, but so sad that you are hurting. I want you to look at me and really listen to what I am saying and trust me, ok?
You just told me that you think that I don’t understand how you’re feeling because I have ‘Lots and lots of friends’, right? I want you to know that I absolutely understand how you are feeling. You are heartbroken because after struggling so hard with not having any friends at school, the one and only friend you finally made ditched you for someone he thought was better, right?
Honey, I do have friends now. Lots and lots of friends that I cannot even say how grateful I am to have in my life.
Do you know a big reason WHY I am so grateful for my friends?
I am grateful because I didn’t have many friends at all when I was growing up. I could count them on one or two fingers most of the time. People not only made fun of me every single day of my life. It was so painful and hurt me so much that sometimes I can still feel exactly what it felt like all these years later. It hurt me for a lot longer than it should and made me think less of myself because I thought something must be wrong with me because I didn’t have friends.
I know that you don’t understand why kid A, B, C & D are so mean to you. I know you don’t understand why no one will stick up for you when people are teasing you, even though you stand up for them when they are being teased.Do you want to know something?
Most of them don’t understand why they do it, either.
You know better than anyone how mean kids can be to other kids just in order to fit in, not stick out, to be accepted. To stand up and face a crowd that is picking on someone takes an awful lot of courage. It’s one reason I am SO proud of you. But…a lot of kids just don’t have that at this stage in their lives.
I AM sure that at least ONE person has wanted to stick up for you in their heart and hated what was happening, but they were too afraid of everyone turning on them if they stood up and said ‘Stop’.
At some point in their lives, they will grow up, be stronger, be less afraid to stand alone. They will also regret the way that they treated you. They WILL. They will wish that day in the cafeteria had gone differently.
You and I are so much alike. I so wish you didn’t have to go through this, but if I could undo anything about my past it would be to change how hard I was on myself. I would want to see me like people who loved and cared about me see me.
How I see YOU.
You are a wonderful, wonderful person. You have such a fun personality, so much energy and kindness. You DO know how to be a friend, you are just in a tough place. This age is so hard on most people, son. Everyone else needs to catch up to YOU. You will see. For some it happens in High School, but it didn’t happen for me until college.
Suddenly, people got to college and everyone was on a level playing field. People were less worried about what the kid sitting next to them would think of their friends and more about how much they actually liked being around the person in question.
And guess what? I was a person people wanted to be around. I looked around a room full of fellow Choir-geeks and realized that every single person in that room LIKED ME.
They liked me because I was funny, smart, talented and kind.
JUST LIKE YOU ARE.
It was a wonderful, wonderful moment, James and I know you will have something similar if not better.
I can see it, son. I can see what you can be. I absolutely know without a shadow of a doubt that your life will be blessed with friends that love and care about you just the way you are.
You have to trust me that I KNOW IT.
You are an excellent brother and I couldn’t ask for a better son.
Now it’s time to try and get some sleep.
Hopefully, things will be better tomorrow.
I love you with all my heart.