by LITIANA TURNER
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Olive was super excited because she was going to be starting big school in the morning. Her Mamma had spent the last few weeks telling her how wonderful it was going to be. They had even practised spending a whole day doing school activities and other tasks around the house, to see if Olive could stay up all day without a nap in the afternoon.
To celebrate her transition to big school Mamma had bought Olive a new lunch box, it was bright orange with balloons on it. Olive couldn’t wait to go to school and use her brand new lunch box.
Early the next morning before anyone was awake in the house, Olive was up. She snuck into her parent’s room to check if it was time to get ready for school, but Papa said to her… “Olive sweetheart, you go back to bed and we’ll wake you up when it’s time to go to school”. It didn’t seem too long before she heard her Papa calling for her to wake up as it was now time to get ready for school.
Arriving at school, Mamma and Olive went to meet with Miss Amelia, Olive’s Grade 1 teacher. There were lots of mums and dads bringing their children for their first day of Primary school. It was everything Olive had hoped for, lots of children, a reading mat, even a sand box outside in the playground, Olive just knew that school was going to be great fun. Mamma sat with Olive for a little while and then Miss Amelia began to thank all the parents for coming to drop off their children at school however it was now time for them all to leave.
When her Mamma left, Olive felt the warmth of the sun streaming in through the glass window. Miss Amelia had given her a desk that was close to the window, so Olive could look outside at the trees and the sand box. In the desk next to her was a girl called Patricia. Olive smiled at Patricia and whispered “Hello” but Patricia did not even smile back instead she poked her tongue out at Olive. Olive was a little surprised by what Patricia had done, because her Mamma had always told her it was very bad manners to poke your tongue out at people. So Olive tried to say hello to Patricia again, but this time she offered her hand like Mamma and Papa had shown her when you meet someone new. Patricia took her hand and squeezed it really hard, she squeezed it so hard that Olive’s eyes welled up and two giant tears rolled down her cheeks.
Suddenly big school was not fun anymore, Olive felt all alone and her hand hurt where Patricia had squeezed it. It was only her first day of school and already Olive just wanted it to be over. Mamma had told her that if there was any problems to ask Miss Amelia for help. Olive didn’t know what to do, she really wanted to be friends with Patricia but she was not being at all nice.
Miss Amelia called the class together and said to them that it was now lunchtime and everyone had to bring their lunch boxes out. Olive went to her bag and brought out her brand new lunch box. Seeing the bright orange colour and the balloons made Olive smile and she quickly took her seat under the shade of a nearby tree. Olive ate as much as she could but could not finish her lunch because she was looking forward to playing in the sand box. When the eating time had finished everyone in Grade 1 could return their lunch boxes to their school bags before they had a few minutes of play.
Olive eagerly packed up her lunchbox and then raced back to the sand box. When she arrived at the sand box, Patricia was already there and she said to Olive, “You cannot come in here” Olive asked, “Why not?” and Patricia said, “because I said so!” Olive was very unhappy. All the excitement and joy of being in big school was evaporating and Olive felt like she did not belong.
At home, that evening Mamma and Papa had made Olive’s favourite dinner to celebrate her first day in Grade 1, however, Olive just played with her food. Papa asked, “Olive is everything alright?” Olive did not say anything to her Papa. So Mamma tried, “Olive tell Papa and I about your first day at school sweetheart”, Olive began to talk about her first day at school and when she got to the part where Patricia poked her tongue out and then how she squeezed her hand really hard, tears started to fall down Olive’s cheeks.
Mamma and Papa looked at each other and then they looked at Olive, quickly they left their chairs and came together to give Olive a big hug. Papa pulled Olive close and said to her, “So, you’ve had a hard day at school?” Olive just nodded her head miserably. Mamma and Papa said to Olive well there are two ways we can help you to deal with this issue; firstly, Mamma and I could come with you to school tomorrow and speak with Miss Amelia about the situation or we could show you what you can do if Patricia or anybody does something that you are not comfortable with. So Papa and Mamma talked with Olive about what she should do and say if anyone was horrible towards her. Papa said “Olive when somebody does or says something you do not like you must say to them in a firm voice, “Stop it! I don’t like what you are doing” then, you must walk away”. Sometimes, you may meet people like Patricia who behave in inappropriate ways, if this should happen to you, please talk to an adult or let somebody you love and trust know.
About the Author
Litiana Rajarajartia Turner, MA, MEd is the former Director of the Department of Children’s Ministries at the South Pacific Division in Wahroonga, Sydney, Australia.