#495 When it suddenly just clicks

I was bad at Kindergarten.

Yes, growing up a small, frightened, sheltered kid meant my daily drip to Grade 0 was the same as blasting me to the moon for six hours a day. I was helpless and alone, down on my own, in a cold and distant unknown.

Honestly, I was so shy I didn’t talk to anyone, anytime, ever. I would stare at my shoes while coloring, face the wall at nap time, and hide under evergreens at recess. Yes, I was the Kindergarten Ghost, a skinny, snot-nosed phantom who haunted the classroom by sitting in the corner all day playing with his zipper. Really, the only time I was less than ten feet from the other kids was when we sat in a circle around a trash can centerpiece every day at lunchtime.

My mom packed me a loaded paper bag for just the occasion each day.

Yes, I’d pull out a bologna sandwich and still have a juice box, granola bar, and cheese string left over. Since I was about three feet tall and clocked in around forty pounds, I usually just ate half the sandwich and quietly threw everything else into the centerpiece.

Now, my massively wasteful ways continued until one day in mid-October when my teacher Mrs. Armstrong mindlessly peeked into the trash can while walking by.

“Wait a minute,” she called out, reaching in to pick up my perfectly wrapped up food. “Who threw this out?”

I suppose my wide eyes, swinging legs, and chin-to-chest pose gave me away because she walked right over to me.

“Neil, did you throw this out?”

I nodded without looking up thinking I was about to get smacked, sent to the principal’s office, or expelled completely for my cheese-tossing ways. But she lowered herself to my level and said “Neil, do you see Matthew over there?”

I looked up at a dirty-faced kid picking his nose with a pencil on the other side of the circle.

“Well, Matthew doesn’t have enough food for his lunch. He’s still hungry. Would it be okay to give Matthew the granola bar you don’t want?”

I nodded again and this time Mrs. Armstrong beamed and spoke loudly for everyone.

“Neil, this is called sharing. Giving things to other people is sharing with them. Thank you for sharing your lunch with Matthew.”

She passed the granola and cheese to Matthew who gobbled it down quickly while I sat tall in the golden praise from my teacher. I felt great and could hear my inner headgears spinning in all directions. Sparks flew inside my five year old brain as I slowly made a bit more sense of the weird and wild world around us …

Yes, when it suddenly just clicks it suddenly feels

AWESOME!

Sign up for 1000 Awesome Things by email.

– Email message –

“Our brother Freddo introduced our family to your blog right at the beginning and we’re all big fans. We were thrilled when we heard about your Webby and book deal and couldn’t wait for The Book of Awesome.

Our family is spread far and wide – across 3 countries and 3 time zones – so we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. But we email frequently and often discuss the latest awesome thing in our online discussions, debating our favorites (Annick’s is #760 and Karine’s is #817).  We finally got together for a long overdue sisters’ weekend and both happened to bring our awesome books. Much laughter, giggling and silliness ensued – especially after we chose our new favorite – Strategic Trick-or-Treating. Thanks for all the awesomeness.” – Annick and Karine
Photos from: here, here, and here

17 Comments

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17 responses to “#495 When it suddenly just clicks

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  2. Hey, I was excruciatingly shy in kindergarten as well. Kindergarten was terrifying: I saw a kid eat glue and I had to interact with strangers.
    I’ve always thought I was weird or too sheltered by my family. Glad to know I’m not alone.

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  6. Dawn Lamond

    Hm – where’d you go?! 8*( We need our awesome! :)

  7. Hi Neil! I just watched your TED talk and it was really inspirational! Life really is about picking option #2. Keep it up and I can’t wait to read more.

  8. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.
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  9. Nothing dramatic just recalling a childhood, but it is so sweet!

  10. Neil? You still here? I’ve got finals this week, I need some awesome to get me through them! No pressure if you are busy, though. Thanks for all the awesomeness you put in the world. :)

  11. I miss Freddo…. good to see a picture of his sisters up there.

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