The Power to Accept

Ellen - Ft. Collins, Colorado
Entered on November 4, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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It started in pre-kindergarten. I was new to school, like so many others, and I did not yet know I was desperate to be hanging with the ‘cool’ kids. I did not yet know I was willing to do nearly anything to be with them, even if it meant that I was going to judge people; judge them for how they looked, what they wore, or how they spoke. As soon as I walked though the doors on my first day of school it started. A girl named Lauren was rejected for how she looked and how she acted. With her mousey light-brown hair, her glasses, eczema, and the two fingers she sucked on until second grade. I judged her, right then and there and labeled her as ‘freak.’ Now as I looked back to those days I feel guilt, for now I believe in the power of acceptance of other people.

I remember being told and still being told, “Do the right thing and don’t judge others for how they look, judge them on who they are blah, blah, blah.” When I think back to Lauren I remember sitting in the car with my dad and telling him about how weird she was, how nobody liked her. He told me right then and there be nice to her, to accept her, for she could be a nice person. That was when I first started to try, but it would be a long difficult road ahead of me. I would be hard because no one, except my best friend at the time Mary liked her. Not even the teacher, the same person, who told us not to judge people.

Acceptance was and is still hard for me. I have found myself doing in the simplest of ways by saying, “What is she wearing?” or “Who is she with that creepy look?” I only know one person that I have never seen do that. Mary, loved everyone and everything. She accepted Lauren for who she was. Though I never noticed it, Mary’s acceptance never took root into my heart and thought of mind until much, much later.

In second grade after Laruen left my school and I thought she was gone forever. A year later I also moved to a new school too. I was the new kid again, wanting to be accepted, and be popular. Yet again, like Lauren, there was another kid at this new school who was not accepted. His name was Allen. Allen was over weight and was lactose intolerant, yet loved milk. Yet again, I found myself falling in the hole of not accepting him, labeling him, all to be considered ‘cool’ once again so I’d be accepted myself. I was better at accepting others but still had a long way to go.

After grade school I moved to Junior high school. I was surprised to find Lauren there, now sporting bright red hair and a black trench coat. I still judged her but I was not nearly as judgmental as I was in kindergarten. Knowing Allen and Lauren has helped me make friends. Now come to believe in the power of accepting other people no matter who they might be.