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.

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10 thoughts on “Adventures of Logan: Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

  1. Oh my. Tears as I read this. Powerful story. Thanking God for that beautiful little girl who recognized Logan’s pain & sadness and took action. Praying that Logan’s bruised, tender heart continues to grow bigger & even more tender as he gets older. The world needs grown-ups like Logan & your neighbor.

    • Thank you! I couldn’t stop crying that night. It’s strange, WordPress never notified me of all these comments back then, and I feel like a doofus that its been a year and a half with your kind words going without acknowledgement. But tonight, as I crack this blog back open and find your thoughtful words, I’m reminded just how far we’ve come since then ( it’s gotten a lot better!). Thanks for your patience!

  2. This is a really lovely blog post — I’m glad there are people like you guys and the fifth-grader out there. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. Oh, this breaks my heart! My sweet Logan! Makes me sad that he has to experience such thoughtlessness and it’s consequential pain. I think there are quite a few people who share blame in this: the parents and the teacher who should have spotted the discrepancy and taken some action–at least try to comfort Logan. Bless that neighbor girl’s heart! Hope she knows how healing her kindness was.

  4. My daughter who is now 31 had to contend with the same meaness as Logan, at school and I wish there had been a kind neighbour girl in our town. As a parent you can only do and say so much, while crying inside for your child. Thankfully, Nessa is a well adjusted woman now, who has learnt that she doesn’t need the approval of others and on a mean note of my own, I checked out on fb some of the girls she was at school with and oh my nerves! they all look so unhappy, while Nessa is in a happy marriage with a loving spouse, whom I love to bits for making her so happy.

  5. Lessons in touching the life of a child (read blog link first): This happened to me in the fifth grade. It was my teacher who noticed, and while I was outside the classroom for GATE, who bought the school’s val-o-grams – every last one – and had everyone in the class either write “anonymous” or a special message to me. Then, he made them promise not to tell, and when I got back to class, he said excitedly, “Look, Kristen! Mrs. PTA came in while you were gone and had a load of these for you. I think you got the most out of the entire fifth grade!” I was too naive to really understand, but what I do understand is how much that MEANT to me, and how much it has shaped my parenting style. I sing along with Taylor to this song all the time – and from now on, I’ll be singing it for Logan.

    • Oh wow, thank you for sharing that. This year, I am glad to report, Logan came home with more valentines than he had classmates. 🙂

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