I am struck by the students essays we read aloud as part of the Paragon Optimists Club’s essay contest the other night at our meetings. Many of the children wrote on the prompt: “Don’t Judge Me Because…” These young people are so affected by feeling judged. So many wrote that they felt judged for liking “boy things” or “girl things”. They felt judged for their clothes and shoes and whether or not they have a dad. It was heartbreaking to hear kids felts this way. At the same time, to be so young and yet so in tuned to others’ feelings is amazing to me.
I tried to remember myself as a 4th grader, and I don’t think I was so in tuned with others’ opinion of me. My heart goes out to these girls and boys. I want them to know they aren’t being judged by me and so many others and that they are special and loved.
It was incredibly interesting to hear about machine inventions from other classrooms. There were machines that made a disabled person’s day better and easier, to a machine that reads minds, the ideas were quite varied. So many students thought of machines to help people. This is so far beyond their 10 short years.
The last prompt that struck me was about the child’s hero. A young child thought their mom was a hero for adopting and taking caring of them. These essays revealed how adult issues are so apparent to children. Another child wrote about their grandfather who fought in a war for their family. To hear these children and their very mature statements is overwhelming. It makes me wonder what we could do for them; how can we spread these positive messages?
I’d like to let them to know, we won’t judge you but are here to support you. We love your imaginations and we know you will make the world a better place. We are proud of your heroes, who are true examples of how we should strive to live. In the words of one of our essay winner’s we want to “be the reason someone smiles today!”