The beautiful coworker of mine, Theresa, who became a best friend and role model for me as a mom. Thanks for the amazing share of “The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade” by Justin Roberts.
I’ve always wanted to inhabit small spaces. And with my small body, I want to do good things in the largest, quietest way possible. Sounds impossible? Troubled?
Maybe. But a beloved fellow social worker gifted my daughter, “The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade,” for her birthday last year. When I opened the book, I met Sally. Hardly anyone noticed, hardly anyone knew that little Sally was paying extra special attention.
One day, she raises her hand in the cafeteria and begs her classmates to stop being mean to one another. She recognizes that the bullies have been bullied themselves. She gets there is conflict and difference and fairness and lack of fairness. But she says, basically, hey – enough is enough.
Choose love. Raise you hand with me. Raise your hand as Sally proclaimed. Enough is enough.
I wish it were that easy. I wish I had more answers. But I’m calling on all y’all Sallys. I know I am not alone, Sally reminded me so. I take up small physical spaces because the world can weigh me down. My own brother does at times. His response to his inner pain boils up into some of the most hurtful and scary ideas I have ever heard. But I understand he is in pain. Those who need the most love can appear the least lovable. He used to keep it in my immediate family, the hurt at least felt contained to the people that also saw the kind, funny, and vulnerable heart he also holds. It is a test, a challenge…a challenge to humanity more than ever. How do we love the pain? How do we heal, now?
What do we need?
We need fewer guns. And more viable mental health care.
We need less standardized tests. And more compassion in our school curriculum.
We need leaders who build us up, instead of tearing us apart.
We need parents who forgive one another as to model forgiveness for their children.
We need more love.
We need to listen to the smallest girl in the smallest grade, as if our lives depend upon it.