I told Julian about the time I wet my pants in second grade because the teacher wouldn’t let me go until after prayers, how I was embarrassed in front of the whole class and how I was teased for years after that.
I told him how the children who arrived to school without a proper uniform were made to wear a crepe paper neck tie. The child was brought to the front of the class where the teacher would staple on a “tie” and be scolded that if you wear the proper uniform next time this won’t happen.
Picking up on my sensitivity about punishments used in my grade school, Julian asked, “So what else would they do instead of stapling a paper tie on?”
“What do you mean?”
“Like, would they wrap them up in crepe paper so it covers your nose and mouth so you can’t breathe??” he asked, seeking out the worst.
I told him I only have so much imagination in this life time, and I’d rather spend it on imagining other things.
“Well, what else could they do if someone forgot to wear their tie to school?” I asked, “What would you rather they do?”
Suddenly lights came on and an outpouring of scenarios filled the room.
“They could give the boy a new tie. They could let them go to the bathroom in the middle of prayers. They could bring them something to write with and a light. They could have a bath in the school, in the middle of school and the teacher could put on their back-up pants if they needed, and let them have a nap if they needed and let them wash their hands when they wanted to, and they could set an alarm for when they wanted to be wakened up. Let them make their own food in the cafeteria, and if its a winter day they could put them on a heather so they get warm!”
Ahh. Such healing, such empathy.