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It came up while we were looking at the class list for the 2013-2014 school year.  Paige was jumping up and down one minute when she saw her best friend’s name, and then he demeanor turned 180 degrees when she saw the last name on the list.  We’ll call this person Ann.

Before I got further, let me say that Paige is nice.  She is exceedingly nice.  She’s like that girl in high school that you would’ve loved to have hated, except she was too damn nice!  Paige walks into a room and you KNOW she’s there.  I’m not just saying that because I’m her mother.  She can make friend’s anywhere, and you can literally drop her in a room full of thirty people she doesn’t know, and it doesn’t bother her a bit.  By the end of the night, she’ll have thirty new best friend’s.  My husband and I are bringing her to one of his co-worker’s birthday parties Friday night.  She hasn’t even asked who’s going to be there, or if she’ll know someone.  It’s completely irrelevant to her.  Public speaking will never be an issue for her, I’m sure. 

So for her to show a negative reaction to someone on her class list, it really got my attention. 

“What’s wrong with Ann?” I asked.

“Well….” it really bothers her to have to even talk badly about people.  “She’s MEAN to me.”

“Oh, you know Ann?”  I hadn’t heard this name or seen it on any previous class lists the past two years. 

“Yeah.  She’s on my bus.  And last year, her and Lisa SPIT on another girl’s jacket!” 

“She what?!” I screeched.  This is NOT something girls in first (now second) grade should be dealing with. 

“Yeah.  They spit on a girl’s jacket.” 

“It wasn’t YOUR jacket, was it?!” 

She shook her head no.  And then, without bashing parenting styles, or classmates I had to figure out a way to take the look of hurt off my daughter’s face.  I don’t understand why, with such bullying awareness, we are still dealing with some of these issues.  Especially as young as six and seven years old. 

“Well,” I began.  I was torn between wanting to give her advice, and wanting to follow her on the bus and talk to these two girls myself.  “Unfortunately, you’re not always going to get along with everyone.  That’s life.  And it’s okay if someone doesn’t like you.  That doesn’t mean you have to be angry and mean towards them.  Just be the nicest person you can be, and if she wants to be your friend, great!  And if not, that’s okay, too.  You’ll know that you did your best.  Plus, we don’t always know what happens in a person’s home life.  Sometimes things happen at a person’s home that can make them very sad, and very angry, and they don’t always manage those emotions in the right direction.  Not everyone’s as fortunate as you are.” 

She nodded her head while taking all that in. 

“But!..” I continued.  “If Ann or Lisa EVER spit on someone’s jacket again, you’re to tell the bus driver, or a teacher.  Capiche?” 

“Ca-piche,” she answered with one big head nod. 

It’s sad to me that my daughter has to experience someone hurting her feelings like this at such a young age.  Especially when she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. 

What makes it perhaps infinitely worse to me, is that Ann’s mother is a teacher in the school.

I suppose I better prepare Paige as best I can now.  Some people just have a very negative personality, that all her joy and happiness will never pierce.