Adventures of Logan: Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

Out of the 19 kids in his class, Logan received just nine valentines at the class valentine exchange party last week. The kids were supposed to bring in a valentine for everyone. Logan had. He painstakingly wrote out each of his classmates’ names, picking out the valentines in his super- hero valentine variety pack for each kid. “Avery would like this one, I want to give that one to Seth…my teacher likes this color, I will give her this one…”

Logan is a thoughtful kid.

He’s super tender- hearted. Omitting a classmate would never cross his mind, in fact, since his super-hero valentine pack had 15 more valentines than he had classmates, Logan addressed the leftover valentines to the principal, his music and art and science and PE teachers. The librarian. The guidance counselor. Kids in other classes. He wanted everyone to know they were special to him.

If kindness was a superpower, Logan would wear a cape.

So it made me physically ill to watch Logan’s spirit crumble as he counted up his valentines and realized he’d been snubbed by half his class. My little superhero had been defeated by meanness.

Matt and I asked if there were lots of absent kids that day.

No.

Had he left the missing valentines someplace? Maybe in his desk? Backpack? Maybe they are just lost?

No.

Maybe the other kids’ parents just didn’t know that was the day they were supposed to bring the valentines in?

“Mom, they sent home, like, a million reminders, remember?”

We told Logan how there are lots of kids at his school who are less fortunate than we are, that can’t afford the three bucks to buy a box of valentines, and how they probably really appreciated his generosity; he should be glad we can afford a box of valentines, how fortunate and lucky that makes him, us. How making others happy makes us happy, and isn’t it sad that some kids couldn’t feel that joy that comes from giving valentines?

That seemed to help, but it was mostly a lie. I just don’t know how to explain bullying to a second grader who not only wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s repeatedly tried to save dying, twitching bugs by placing them in a special container and bringing them food and water. The almost- dead cricket he found over Christmas lasted a week beyond its expected expiration date because of Logan’s care.

…certainly poverty is an issue for one or two classmates, and perhaps another one or two’s parents forgot it was the day of the valentine exchange, and someone was sick… But that doesn’t add up to half the class. Logan was snubbed, purposefully excluded, and I am at a complete loss for how to explain that kind of meanness.

What kind of parents raise kids that do that?

Not my neighbors.

When the “super cool” fifth grader that rides Logan’s bus saw Logan was upset that day, and found out what happened, she decided she had to do something to cheer him up. She used her own money to pick out a special gift for Logan, a card and some candy, then surprised him with it on Saturday.

Honestly, Logan thinks this girl is so super-awesome-amazing-cool that if she’d just said “hi” to him it probably would have been enough, but she went the extra 30 miles round-trip from town to make a difference for him. She saved Valentines Day and the heart of a little boy.

Logan was over-the-moon. I was completely humbled and blown away. What an amazing young lady. The world needs more kids like her. I want to raise a child that does that.

So today, after bringing this young lady a Thank You card and gift Logan had worked very, very, very hard to pick out (8 stores and four hours), and once again being amazed by the young lady’s grace and poise, Logan and I drove in to town so I could get to work…

In the car on the radio was Taylor Swift singing ” Mean.”

I didn’t even know Logan knew any of the words. But he knew all of them. He sang each one with such conviction I started to cry.

I pretended I had allergies and wiped my eyes while Logan sang from my back seat.

And sang.

And sang.

And I was so thankful to know people that raise amazing kids, and so sad that not everyone does, and hurt that my son knew the difference at 7 years old.

I don’t have to explain that some people are mean. He already knows. And he knows that it doesn’t have to be like that. That the kindness of one trumps the meanness of ten. And that’s power. A superpower, even.