Dear Sweet Bitty Soul Oliver (hold on, you’ll see…),
I am a listener. A watcher of souls.
When teaching children–the bitty bobble heads–and teens, and adults, I catch a lot of conversations. Eye glances. Verbal and nonverbal communication.
This week, two bitty bobble head boys captured my total attention. Oliver and Erik (that might or might not be their names…).
Oliver is shy, he struggles, gets upset easily. He is a tender and sweet soul.
Erik on the other hand, is boisterous (and boy-sterous). He is very verbal. And really likes space, and planets, and such. I know, because he talks about this a lot (good on him).
Oliver and Erik could not be more different.
Being boys and bitty bobble heads might be the only commonalities.
The art project was simple enough–tie string (a knot) in a hole-punched item. Erik was a wiz, a knot tying maniac. Oliver sat and watched Erik and the rest of the classmates tie knots.
I ask, “Oliver are you okay?”
Oliver nodded yes.
I knew that wasn’t so. But since I’m not the type to step in as soon as I feel a pause or slight frustration in a student, I let him watch and hopefully work it out.
It wasn’t long before I noticed his anxiety and watched his face become distorted (you know, just before you cry–you get ugly face–for ugly cry).
“I can’t do it! Teacher I can’t tie a knot.” Oliver’s tears fell out of his swollen eyes. In fact, I’d guess by the looks of Oliver, that there were tears in his last class too.
Of course I went over and began to talk, soothe, tie knots. Showing him what to do. It wasn’t long before another child needed me… and off I went, with Oliver tying a knot.
(or so I thought)
A few minutes later, “I can’t, I just can’t!” Yup, it was Oliver.
This next part got me.
Erik seated just a seat away said, “I’ll help you, I’m really good at knots.”
As so it was. Erik would tie one knot for Oliver, then one knot for him. As if they were sharing an ice-cream cone–taking turns. It was a tender moment. I kind moment.
Kindness in the most unlikely of children.
Kindness at the early age of bitty bobble heads.
But this isn’t why I’m telling you this story. It’s only the lead up to what really melted me.
Towards the end of class, Erik and Oliver stood near each other. And in the smallest voice Oliver said, “Erik, I like you.”
OH I heard it. But Erik didn’t. But he did hear his name.
Erik looked at Oliver, “What did you say?”
“I said I like you.”
My heart stopped still. And then made a big THA-THUMP. Oh, this was BIG for Oliver… I wanted him to be heard. Accepted. Liked.
There was an awkward silence. And then Erik smiled and replied, “I like you too.”
And then they proceeded to make plans to sit at lunch together.
It’s a big deal. For bitty bobble heads to grown adults. All of us adults that have a bitty bobble head Oliver inside of us.
We all want to be liked.
But how often do we let “them” know we like them?
Today’s truth is simple: tell someone, you like them.
Tell you partner.
Tell your child.
Tell your parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc…
Tell your pastor, therapist, teacher, mentor.
Tell your friend.
See, I think liking someone, letting them know is a BIG deal. Especially to those we love. Because often we love someone…without liking them. And somehow inside all of us we know this truth. We might be loved, but are we liked?
Or maybe you’re in the building stage of a friendship, relationship. No one seems to be willing to show their hand first. It’s hard to just say the words… I really like you, I’m glad we are becoming friends. Or if you are solid friends…do they know you like them?
Today–in the next couple of days–take a chance.
Tell them you like them.
Muster up the courage of Oliver. You really can do this.
And even if it’s awkward for a moment…your Erik might reply back that you are liked too.
Being liked, being told, is a really good, big, wonderful, good-on-you, deal.
Go on Oliver… you can do this.
My hope is that one day these Truth Cards will come to good use. Eventually I’d like to publish them with proceeds benefiting TWLOHA (because I think what they do is so very important). I have no idea how that will work, but it is a wish. For now they are my gift to you. So without further ado, here is your Truth Card to print. I’m offering one each week, collect them all and you’ll have a beautiful set of 52 cards. Simply click on the card (which takes you to my Flickr set) and download and print. I have my Truth Cards on a small easel. They look best printed 5″ x 5″. You are free to give them to others, in fact it would be a huge honor if you did. I just ask that you do not remove the copyright info. This is an honor system, I honor you, you honor me. n♥JOY!