Monday, December 13, 2010

Dear Katie

Dear Katie,

I am sure by now you know that thousands of people think you are a very amazing girl.  We are so proud of you for admitting to your mother that you were being picked on by the boys.  Geeks everywhere are so thankful for your continued love of Star Wars, helping to validate our interests into the next generation of geeklings.  With you in mind I dug out my Star Wars (episode 1 - sadly) shirt and wore it to my daughter's (she's a kindergartener) school while I helped in the cafeteria during lunch.  Her school is small, but has classes through 6th grade.  I would like to share the comments I received, and assure you that I took the message of tolerance and acceptance to the place it really needed to go..... back to the school yard (and the cafeteria even).

Most of the K-3rd graders didn't really notice my shirt.  I tend to wear lots of different T-shirts and wearing a Star Wars shirt is pretty much in line with the sort of things I already wear.  Plus, it's been my observation that they don't really notice me so much.  When they did notice my shirt they mostly wanted to know which Star Wars movie it was.  It was both boys and girls that asked me.  I unfortunately, barely got the chance to mention bullying at all.  I think I mentioned it to a couple kids (particularly on the playground), but I don't think I was really heard, we adults feel that way a lot I think.

The real info came from the 4-6 grade group (we have separate lunches).  In this group, I had a fun Star Wars chat with a group of guys (we've talked a bit about it before).  A bunch of 5th grade girls told me their favorite characters from the movies (one girl loved Luke, Han, Leia, R2, Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Amidala)  Another girl was a solid Princess Amidala fan.  Of course I found a few Vader fans as well.  One boy stood for most of my explanation about you, Katie.  He listened as I talked about your water bottle and how kids can be so mean.  I think he could relate.  Maybe he is one of those guys that likes Disney movies that are marketed to girls?  I've known a few, they are pretty cool guys really.

There were a few 6th grade girls that snubbed me for my choice of shirt.  I imagine that it was somewhat like what you experienced really.  Oh well, their loss!  They're kinda snooty anyway.  Maybe someday they'll open their eyes and see that there is so much more to the world than just being cool, or popular, or whatever it is that they think is such a priority.

My favorite group was a bunch of 4th grade girls.  Admittedly, these are some pretty cool girls and make up most of the 4th grade class.  They love to chat about all kinds of things.  They are always telling me about what they are reading and learning in science class.  They've finally caught on that I don't speak Spanish, but I know a bit of Mandarin.  They saw my shirt, and they were excited!  We talked Star Wars.  We talked about you.  We talked about how hard bullying is.  We talked about more Star Wars.  Every time I walked by their table they thumbed up me, smiled, of virtual high fived me!  You see Katie, you would be miss popular in their class.

Maybe the problem isn't boys, or bullying, or any of that, maybe it's just that you are too mature for you age and into things that are just a few years ahead of your peers!

Keep up the good work!  The fourth grade can't wait for you to join them!


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