By an anonymous friend
There’s a boy in my son’s class who is on the autism spectrum. The boy really just wants to be Robert’s friend, but he is awkward and does unusual things. Sometimes he draws pictures of Robert being hurt. He tells Robert that his shirt is stupid and he shouldn’t wear it. The other boys in class laugh and egg it on.
So the young boy continues to hurt Robert because he thinks that his behavior is hilarious and acceptable.
After becoming aware of the situation, the boy’s mom tried to apologize to Robert. I could see the desperation just below the surface on the mother’s face, pleading for Robert to understand—to laugh it off–to let it go and say that everything was okay.
The tone in her voice was begging for Robert to see past the awkwardness—to see that her little boy was just struggling to fit in. He just wanted a friend.
Later when we got home, I sat down with Robert and told him a story. A story of another little boy–a precious young boy whose parents were told that because their baby’s brain was wired differently, he would never be able to lead a normal life.
His momma had prayed so hard to be able to carry a baby once more. Now she was told that she might never hear her son tell her that he loved her. That sweet beautiful blue-eyed boy might never find someone who would love him enough to marry him.
After years of therapy, the boy was old enough to go to school. His parents, with shaking hands and pounding hearts, let him go. They prayed that he would thrive. They desperately hoped that the other kids would somehow…understand. That someone would be able to see past the abnormal behavior and just be his friend.
It was heart wrenching to hear that sweet boy come home and tell his parents and sisters that the other boys in his class made fun of him. They called him a monster.
They called that precious five-year-old boy… a monster.
It broke their hearts.
One day his big sister showed up at school to bring him the fruit snacks he’d forgotten at home. The little boy was so excited! When she walked into the room, his face lit up and he called out in a bold voice, “Your Majesty! Tell my friends how I am your prince!”
He was reaching out to hope. Hoping that his peers would see him differently if someone placed a higher value on him. If someone would see him like his as his big sister saw him.
His big sister saw him as a prince!
It was hard. Hard for that young boy’s momma and daddy to figure out when to step in and when to step aside and let him tough it out.
Then I asked Robert a few questions.
How wonderful would it have been if there had been a boy in that class who took time to understand him?
What if someone would have loved him and been his friend even though he was different?
What if someone had stood up for him and protected him from the cruel things that the other kids did and said?
What soothing medicine would that have been to his parents’ fragile hearts!
I told Robert that he has a unique opportunity to be THAT friend.
An opportunity to be that soothing medicine for a different little boy and his momma.
How special it would be for me, “Your Majesty,” to see my own son be that very special friend for another little boy… and make him feel like a prince!