I’ve been thinking so much about words and actions today.
Last December I saw a video about a little boy named Christian who started something called a Buddy Bench at his school. The idea is that they have a special bench out on the playground, and if you’re feeling lonely and can’t find someone to play with you sit on the bench. Someone will come find you, and see if you want to play or talk. This just struck me as Ella’s heart, so I showed her the video. She talked about it a bit at school, and we told our friend Mr. B about it.
Well, tomorrow her elementary school is putting three Buddy Benches on the playground. Ella was asked if she would go to the assembly where they presented them to talk about them, even though she’s off at middle school now. Just the idea made her heart race. She is petrified of that sort of thing. Mr. B understood (and anticipated) and offered a written option. She’ll do a great job with that, too, but it breaks my heart a little bit. Not because I don’t mind large groups, but because I know the power of words. I know the power of showing a group of people your emotions. Ella’s heart for the lonely is remarkable. Truly remarkable. I wish she was comfortable sharing it in this sort of way, because I have no doubt it would change somebody.
But Ella is comfortable with something that’s probably better. Action. She finds the good in every person and every situation. There are no strangers to Ella. When I showed her the video about the buddy benches, she didn’t want to talk about it. She wanted to do it. She didn’t need to wait for benches and programs and official processes, she found a way to reach out to people right away. She started looking for kids that were sitting alone at lunch. Then she’d go sit with them, and a few of her friends would join her. In a few minutes, that table would be packed. She still does it now, even at middle school. Sometimes I think she’s so unobservant – but really, I think she’s so focused on people, they are all she sees.
I can’t wait to see what she does next.