I can still remember when you waved me over to sit with you and your friends at lunch. I always felt I was an outsider amongst the group of clicks in the lunchroom, or in any room, and you didn’t see this in me. The lunchroom is the most intimating place for any second grader and you helped ease my panic as I approached the table. You smiled and asked my name as I slowly pulled out my chair. I thought maybe this was a setup. I’d never been bullied but I thought maybe this could be my first time. I was shy and said my name softly and you broke through my hesitance with a warm genuine smile. Once again my mind was eased from all fears and your decision to accept me changed my life.
I don’t think you will ever know the impact your actions had on me. I mattered that day and it was only the beginning. Each day you waved me over I gained more appreciation for this action. I actually started to question why other people didn’t do it more often. Why was walking into the lunchroom like walking into an exclusive party; each table requiring an invite only ticket to sit at. But yours was not like this. Yours was full of life and appreciation where stories were told and each voice mattered.
Fast-forward about 15 years and I find myself aware of people looking for a seat during meal times. And when I have the guts, I wave them over and ask them to join me. This simple gesture wasn’t just meant for me to accept, it was also for me to do. I’ve now met many beautiful characters and heard many incredible stories because of the action you taught me that day. Who knows if I would have met all these people if I didn’t learn the depth of the word acceptance early on? I guess it makes sense that my number one strength of Strength Finders personality test today is includer.
The next time you see someone sitting alone or pacing the lunchroom for somewhere to sit have some courage to wave them over. They might need that reassurance that they aren’t alone.
Thank you old lunchroom friend, we need more of you in this world.
Until next time...