"Teach them that everyone is fighting hard, unseen battles and that a smile or wave or kind word costs them nothing, but has the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s day."
Parents tend to worry about their kids when they go back to school because not everyone is kind out there. Kids are subjected to bullying which does leave a mark on them. So, in a moment of vulnerability, one mom took to Facebook to share her teenage daughter's back-to-school anxieties.
Her 15-year-old daughter, Lucy, was feeling nervous all summer, thinking of her first day of high school. Lucy, who has cerebral palsy, was worried about what others might think or say about her disability, the mom said, according to ABC News.
"It’s also her first day back at a district school after spending 6 years at a school for kids with special needs," wrote the mother, Stephanie Cook, on Facebook.
"She’s scared that kids will make fun of her because she has cerebral palsy. She’s worried they will make fun of her smaller right hand that doesn’t open all the way, the way that she walks, that her body isn’t shaped like she thinks it should be, that she can’t do all the things that other kids can do. She’s worried that they won’t like her. She’s worried she won’t make any friends. She’s worried she will be lonely," the mom shared.
While these fears may be unique to Lucy, fear in itself is not something new to people, shared Cook, adding that people do have a tendency to step up when they understand the situation.
"Please consider taking the time to teach your kids about other kids like Lucy," she wrote. "Teach them that Lucy has challenges every day that seem almost insurmountable, but the one thing she wants the most is to be loved and valued and accepted—just like everyone else."
"Teach them that they have the incredible power to build people up or tear them down, and they make choices with those effects every day. Be brave and reach out to those who look lonely. Teach them that everyone is fighting hard, unseen battles and that a smile or wave or kind word costs them nothing, but has the potential to change the trajectory of someone’s day," the worried mom wrote.
She also added that it would help to have people refraining from using the R-word, for people with disabilities, as it is a slur, just like the N-word.
Lucy, who was born at 23 weeks and four days, suffered a brain hemorrhage when she was a baby. Despite that, she made it, and is a "walking, talking miracle," according to her mom.
Thankfully, school has been nice, and she enjoyed her time there. "I love it," she said. However, Cook said she wasn't surprised that her daughter's peers were kind, as that has always been the case.
"We just need to try to make it a habit to look for people that maybe need our friendship or give people the benefit of the doubt because everybody struggles with something," said Cook. "When [kids] realize this, they do better and they're there for each other."
She then spoke about how she asks her kids two questions after school, and those are guaranteed to help them through the ups and downs that might come their way. "I ask my kids ... every day after school," she said. "Were your friends nice to you today? And were you nice to your friends?"
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Stephanie Cook