Five fifth grade boys are ready to restore your faith in humanity.
James Willmert is a fifth grader at Franklin Elementary School in Mankato, Minnesota. He has a learning disability, which has made him an easy target for bullies at his school. However, five boys, Gus, Jack, Jake, Landon, and Tyler, took notice and they embraced James in friendship. True friendship.
Jake told USAToday:
They were like, using him and taking advantage of him, because he’s easier to pick on, and it’s just not right.
So, the boys invited James to start eating lunch at their table. They started including James in their football games, and recess went from being a dreaded activity, to the joyful time that it’s meant to be.
Margie Willmert, James’ mother, told the publication:
He used to not want to go out for recess or anything, it would be like a struggle. And now he can barely eat his lunch to get outside to play with those guys.
The boys discovered that James did not have a video game system, a necessity for most 10- and 11-year-old boys, so they pooled together and with the help of their parents bought him a Playstation 3. For the first time in James’ life, he had buddies over to his house to play.
I was a bullied child. I remember the dread of recess. I remember hoping and praying (at that time, I prayed) for any reason at all to get out of going to recess or PE class – as those were the two places I was tormented the most. Kids can be cruel and can say mean things, but what feels even more cruel is the loneliness felt when you’re isolated from the compassion and understanding of others. At first, you simply don’t understand why other kids don’t want to be around you. And then, the cruelest thing of all happens, your own thoughts begin to echo and amplify the bully’s words. Dread soon turns to despair and your feelings of self-worth become dependent upon the opinions of others, as you long for acceptance, understanding, and companionship.
Human beings are not meant to live completely alone. We are social creatures. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean we must all be the social butterflies that gather friends like girls in the 1980’s gathered charms for chain necklaces. But, what it does mean is everyone needs somebody.
I am so glad to know about these five amazing boys from Minnesota. Perhaps the anti-bullying lessons were heard loud and clear, but I have a hunch that these boys just have a kindness within them that transcends books or campaigns.
Watch the video via USAToday on YouTube:
Featured image via YouTube video screen capture