Author: Karen Copeland
She sits quietly in your classroom. Completes her work. Not always on time, but mostly. She might be hesitant to raise her hand to answer a question. She likes school, but doesn’t love school and would rather learn about things that matter to her. She might not be the one to readily help out with chores in the room. She is well behaved and doesn’t sass (well, she does, but mostly to her mother!). She hangs back from her group sometimes, overlooked because she is not quite as outgoing or gregarious as her peers. She doesn’t always say the right things, but always means well. She is incredibly sensitive and takes things to heart. She is very reserved and does not readily share all that is going on in her life.
I know you see her.
Do you know her?
Sometimes she feels invisible, like she doesn’t matter. She hasn’t yet found her voice, so she sits quietly. Follows instead of leads.
She misses out on opportunities because she doesn’t exude the qualifications that are asked for.
And yet, if you could know her like I do you would see…
The beauty of her empathy and compassion for others who struggle, and her incredible dislike and impatience for those who choose to marginalize versus accept;
Her curiousity around social justice and how to respond to those with whom she disagrees;
The brilliance that shines on her face when she is volunteering at the horse rescue and how much passion she has for the animals there;
The many, many hours she has spent teaching herself to draw, always striving to do better;
Her laughter, her love for children;
and so much more.
It’s not just about seeing her. You need to know her.
She doesn’t make it easy, but if you spend the time to get to know her you will begin to understand. Trust that she will tell you when she feels more comfortable. Know that while it may not appear so on the outside, she is a champion on the inside.
When she finds her voice, you will know this.
And she will finally know it too.
**Update 04/2016: I am proud to share this blog post written by my daughter, who is discovering her inner champion: One Youth’s Thoughts on Acceptance and Inclusion