Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Choices

In life, we all have choices. Some of these choices are insignificant; others could change the course of our lives forever. I have made plenty of choices in my life, and like all of us, I regret some of them, and others impacted my life in incredible ways. But this post isn't about my choices. It's about the choices of my peers.

During one fourth grade gym class, we were supposed to be jumping rope. I can't jump rope, but my friends swung the rope slowly and I stumbled over it. They didn't make me feel different, inferior because I couldn't actually jump the rope. They didn't laugh at me, ignore me, or badger me with uncomfortable questions. They counted my steps over the rope, and I counted their jumps. And that little moment eight years ago, a moment which they have probably forgotten, will be forever etched in my mind.

Fifth grade kickball. Before my turn, my teacher looked me in the eye and asked me if I wanted to try to kick the ball. Yes, I said. I want to play. Heart pounding, I kicked that ball and ran. Ran in my own way, a stumbling fast walk, but I ran. I made it to first base. I heard a voice urge me to keep going, keep going. So I kept running, around all of the bases, back to home base. I scored a point in a Friday afternoon fifth grade kickball game. A game that my classmates probably don't remember, but one that will always be significant to me because I realized later that they let me score that point. And that is a beautiful thing.

Karate class. I had to be lifted over some of the obstacles in the obstacle course because I couldn't jump over them. At first I was embarrassed by this, embarrassed that I had to be carried through part of the obstacle course, but then I heard the cheering. Throughout the duration of the obstacle course at the end of each class, my peers cheered for me. They could have torn me down, whispered behind my back, but they didn't. They made me feel proud.

These kids had a choice. They could have teased me, ignored me, questioned me, but they didn't. They made an awesome choice. And for that, I thank them.
Stumbo Family Story

1 comment:

  1. I love that you had some positive experiences in school with your peers and specifically in gym class, which can be so brutal. Your post reminded me of climbing the wall (fake rock climbing wall) in gym class in high school. A friend belayed for me and I made it all the way to the top. The next day, the adaptive PE teacher belayed, and she PULLED ME up the wall, barely letting me do any of the actual climbing myself. So it was extra nice to know that at least my friend knew I could do it.

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