This I Believe

Katie - Plymouth, Minnesota
Entered on October 23, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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I believe that people realize their mistakes when it’s too late to fix it.

The appearance of a kindergartner is quite deceiving; their dimples hide their despite and their cuteness hides their cruelty. Yet, the most ironic part of kindergarteners is that the effect of their actions is not fully understood by them, until years later. And no matter how adorable the child is, each one is capable of such brutal acts.

This month I was seated at table three with my friend Anna on my left and a boy named Ryan on my right. I don’t know how we found out, but eventually Anna and I discovered that Ryan was terrified of black holes. We thought it would be amusing to see how Ryan reacted if he were to see a black hole, so one day as everyone else was leaving for lunch, Anna and I lingered at the back of the line. As soon as we knew everyone else was out of the room we dashed back to table three, took a black crayon, and drew a large, somewhat round circle in Ryan’s notebook. We quickly put the crayon back in its place and caught up with our class.

Lunch was always one of the most enjoyable times of the day. As it progressed, the trick we had just played on Ryan slowly slipped my mind. By the time we made the trek back to the classroom, I had entirely forgotten about our pre-lunch adventure. But as soon as I heard that pathetic and awful sob, I remembered. But the cry didn’t evoke pity out of us, instead it made us laugh.

Since Anna and I found such gratification in tormenting him, the simultaneous black holes and crying occurred on more than one occasion. We would write notes, containing a single black circle, and pass them to him. He would then start crying and sit in the corner, refusing to tell anyone why.

This torture continued the rest of the month until the day we switched seats again. But to my astonishment Ryan never told the teacher that we were doing it. Therefore we never got punished. Eventually we learned that other people could not be treated with such vicious actions and I later understood that what we did was cruel and uncalled for, but by the time I came to this realization it was too late.

Since Ryan spent a lot of this kindergarten year crying and consequently had less time to learn than the rest of our class, he was held back a year. It might have been better that he got to start over, with no one in his new class knowing what had happened the previous year. But our actions undoubtedly had a major impact on Ryan’s life. I regret having to come to this conclusion, a conclusion that many others have come to before and many kindergarteners will come to in time, when it is already too late to change the past.