Jane

Today's topic: "Pass on some useful advice or information you learned and always remembered.

I'm taking a break from watching the Goofy Movie to write this post. That's right. The Goofy Movie - that mid-90s animated movie about teenager Max traveling across country with his dad, none other than Goofy Goof. It makes me happy; I regret nothing. In fact, my response to today's prompt is kind of related (although tenuously) to my movie selection.

When I was 9 years old, I was a mean girl. No, not Lindsey Lohan in Mean Girls, stealing boyfriends and plotting to destroy lives. More like a "you-can't-sit-with-us" kind of mean. Do I think a lot of young girls go through this stage? Yes. Do I think it's okay or am I proud of it? I surely am not. But it happened. In 4th grade, my friends and I had a little "clique", if you will. We were the popular kids in our tiny little Catholic school. All the boys liked us but we were too good for them, or so we thought. And many of the girls would try to win us over to be our friends but we weren't having it. Wow, reading that back, I sounded like such an asshole. I want to delete that. But I won't because it's true. 

But that's not the point of the story (Sorry! I'm a bit long-winded). One day, I got detention for talking too much in class and my punishment was lunchtime detention. I had to spend half of my lunch in the classroom with Ms. Murphy, helping another student with some classwork. Jane, the girl I was helping, and I were having so much fun, laughing and singing Spice Girls songs as duets, that we didn't stop until Ms. Murphy told me that my time was up. The next day after we handed in our daily writing journals and headed off to PE class, Ms. Murphy held me back from the group for a moment. She told me that she wanted to read me something and then she read from someone's journal. I don't remember everything exactly (I was only 9 after all), but the student talked about having to make dinner with no food in the refrigerator and waking up with a cockroach crawling in the bed, and finished the entry with "but that's ok because I have a friend". Ms. Murphy then said something to me that I have never forgotten: "Be kind to people, because you never know what that truly means to them." And then, she let me leave.

I knew that the entry was from Jane's journal, but I never told anyone. I wish I could say that from then on Jane and I were best friends, but that would be giving myself far too much credit. Jane went on to find her own group of friends that she fit in perfectly with. But when her friends weren't at lunch, sometimes she'd come over to our table and I'd make space for her next to me. When things had gotten a bit worse for her and some of the boys would tease her for her unkept appearance or horrid stories of her mother's new boyfriend, they knew never to say anything in front of me because I was the mean girl, who'd push them against the lockers and make them cry.  

I haven't seen Jane or Ms. Murphy since my 8th grade graduation, but I think about them often. Wherever they are, I hope people are kind to them.

Has anyone ever given you some useful advice? Pass it on to me, please! :)