Monday, December 16, 2013

My Faith in Humanity

Last week, I came across this Huffington post article. To sum it up, two NC State football players are pictured eating lunch with a fellow student. The fellow student happens to be handicapped.
This photo touches me in a way that brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Let me explain.

For those of you who know me personally or have been around for a while, you know that I have a younger brother who is a college senior and starting linemen for the Illinois College Blueboys. Chester is 9 years younger than I am and without a doubt, I am his biggest cheerleader and the feeling is mutual. After my parents, I'm his favorite person. The summer before Chester's sophomore year of high school, my parents moved 90 minutes away from our home town to be closer to our family. Chester didn't take the move well and we all hoped he would adjust and make friends quickly. Being a member of the Indians football team made the transition a bit easier but I know the move and change was hard on him. As the new school year approached, I was worried sick that he would have to eat lunch alone. Dead serious. The thought of him having to eat alone with no friends to cut up with made my heart ache.

Dining alone is something that seriously bothers me. Even now, as a 31 year old, I refuse to eat in public by myself. As bizarre as this is, it makes me sad to see someone dining out by themselves. I know some people like the alone time dining solo gives them (James has no problem with eating solo) but it seriously makes my stomach sick to think that a child would have to eat alone at the lunch table. Each school year, I ask my niece who she had lunch with on her first day of school. She is 7 and just answers me and quickly says something funny and lighthearted because she thinks it's weird that I even ask. 

When I saw this photo, it made me recall the 2 boys I know who sat with my brother during lunch his first week at HHS. I will always remember how kind they were to my brother, how welcoming there were to the new kid in town. They accepted him. Maybe that's what boys do, I don't know but seeing these football players sitting with a fellow student who is handicapped, makes me happy. I love that they see passed the handicap. They see him as a fellow Tuffy, one of them. 

As Connor gets older and heads off to school, you can bet I'm going to be terrified that he will have to sit alone at the lunch table. As silly as this seems to some, it's a real fear I have for him. I want my son to be welcomed, to be the kid everyone enjoys being with, someone you'd want to have lunch with.

Thanks to this photo, one that brings my love of football and the boys of fall together with one of my biggest fears, I know that there are still good, considerate people left in the world. It just goes to show, humanity isn't dead just yet.

6 comments:

  1. I will not eat alone either. It makes my feel weird. My husband on the other hand has no problem. I would get take out and eat at home alone rather than sit in booth by myself. Kudos to those kids for having a kind heart.

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  2. Love this post! It always worries me when we move to an new area and the kids have to start a new school...I worry they will sit alone at lunch or have no one to play with at recess. It hurts me to no end. Love that you and your brother have such a close relationship. :)

    Laura @ Mice In The Kitchen

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  3. Those are the kind of student athletes that give me hope for the future!

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  4. I don't mind dining alone, but I think it's because I'm a bit shy. If someone else makes the effort to meet me, I am glad and happy. I just have a difficult time reaching out of my confort zone to speak first.

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  5. Isn't it sad this had to make national news, though? It should be the norm. However, it's a great story nonetheless! So happy to hear your brother is adjusting well!

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  6. This picture is beautiful as well as your take on it. I've never mind eating alone in public but I have a friend that will not.

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