Lunchtime can be a scary time when you’re new to a school and haven’t yet made many friends. It is one of the times of the day when everyone is released from the controlled environment of a classroom, and left to mingle among their peers. I can remember lunch times sitting by myself, I felt excluded, lonesome and insecure. Inevitably, this left me as a perfect target for other kids looking for an outlet for their anger and their frustration through name calling, tripping and other more creatively mean-spirited things. Fortunately, I found a solution, or rather, the solution found me. One of the kids who was in my morning classes, saw me sitting alone one lunch hour, and she came up and sat down beside me and we ate lunch together. We became good friends, and she ended up introducing me to another circle of friends who I hung out with until I moved to the next school. The moral of the story is the solution was so simple, that I knew I could try it myself whenever I saw someone sitting by themselves at lunch time, or looking lost/confused/new to the school.
If You See Someone Sitting Alone
Introduce yourself and ask them if they want someone to sit with, if they are interested and want company, go ahead and sit down. Have conversations that feel comfortable, pay attention to body language and talk about things that have made you feel comfortable when you were new to the school. If you’re with friends, alert them to the situation, and ask them to help you make others feel more welcome at the school. You could invite them to come sit with you next lunch hour too. If you end up sitting alone yourself, my favourite activity at lunch was to read a book while you eat – taste the adventure lol.
Opposite of Bully: FRIEND
When this series began, I started by talking about opposites. I find it helpful when you identify a challenge, to identify and work towards its’ opposite. That’s where the term anti-bully comes from – I do realize that the term anti-bully is a deficit based phrase, and have been asking folks what they would use to replace it. The word I’ll share this week is FRIEND. Instead of trying to be an the opposite of a bully at school, simply try to be a good friend to people.
THE PICTURE: the above photo is of Sean at Neechi Commons restaurant – she does the chalk art and makes awesome custom sandwiches…and tattoos. (the tattoos don’t happen at the restaurant lol)