Parents know how anxious children can be when school begins, and one of a child’s biggest worries is whether they will make friends.
Lauren and I heard this when we toured primary and nursery schools with our Myrtle the Purple Turtle books. When we visit children from 3 to 11 years old, we don’t just read the books to them: we also listen to their experiences.
Some children told us about being left out. No one wanted to play with them, or “be friends”. Some were made fun of, or bullied by others.
Of course, these things can happen at any time, not just in the first weeks of school. We also know that parents are looking out for their children, themselves anxious about how their child is faring each day.
But there is another thing parents (and other adults who care for children) can do:
Encourage or remind your children to be kind to others, and especially to children who seem to have no friends.
Just as they clearly recalled the painful times they were excluded, the 9, 10 and 11 year old children we met had uplifting stories. They had distinct memories of the classmates who noticed they were excluded and reached out to them.
Some remembered being told they couldn’t join in a game, but also happily remembered the time they were included. And they cherished their memories of the classmates who simply asked “Do you want to be friends?”
Out in the community, we’ve even met adults in their 80’s who remember those incidents from early childhood. Some today say they are still marked by those experiences of being excluded or being befriended.
Every child needs to be included and every child can be a friend to another.
The original Myrtle story was written for Lauren, after an incident at her school when she was almost five years old. But if you were to accompany us on a book tour in schools, you would understand why these issues are so present in our thoughts as we write every new book.
We are passionate about Myrtle’s messages of inclusion, kindness and self-esteem because we see the great need for them — and we see it often.
To order, or learn more about the Myrtle books, please visit: https://myrtlepurpleturtle.wordpress.com/
We are also grateful for this award recognizing Myrtle’s relevance to schools:
30 thoughts on “At the Start of the School Year”
Wish there were a “Love” button available for this post. Love, love, love!
Thank you, Laurie!
Such an important and powerful message, “Every child needs to be included…” Love this!
Thank you, Khaya.
I’m so glad you continue to spread the message of inclusion and delighted to know some children are reaching out to those in need. Thank you Cynthia and Myrtle. 🙂
Thank you, dear Brad. Happy weekend to you!
If only all parents made it their first priority to inculcate kindness in their children! The world would be such a beautiful place!
I agree. Sometimes I wish I could have seen what was happening in my children’s classroom and playground. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I became a volunteer in their school.
You, Lauren and Jo are doing such a wonderful thing for everyone, not just children, through Myrtle! Keep the books coming!
It’s a deep subject because we aren’t born ready to be unkind to people. We learn it somewhere. Applause to Myrtle and her message. 🙂
Congratulations on the award! You are making a difference.
It’s interesting–I don’t think Myrtle’s message applies just to children either. My mom, at 86, felt many of the same fears when she moved into an assisted living facility–would she make friends, would she fit in? Now she sees herself as the official “greeter” of new residents, to make them feel accepted when they move it.
Wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
This post puts your books in splendid perspective. Congratulations
In the U.S. military, purple is considered the ‘joint’ color because they think that purple includes every color. Even though, red and blue equal purple, in Myrtle and the military, purple is joint–to include everyone. Great color choice.
Good to know! I had no idea.
Smarter than you realized 😄
Congratulations on the Purple Dragonfly award – well deserved, I know.
You are right in saying how much a kind word at school is appreciated. School can be a very lonely, frightening and unhappy place, at least that was my and both my daughters’ experience and the remembrance of being included in a game or even just a smile in passing can make such a difference.
Congratulations! I think Myrtle is the perfect messenger, Cynthia.
Thank you, Jill, for that vote of confidence.
I think it is great you are taking your book right to the kids. They will learn and apply the message.
Thanks, Fran! Hope you’re doing well. And writing!
I love how you minister through your writing, Cynthia! If we all could do that, what a change we’d see . . .
What an interesting way of seeing what Lauren and I do! Thank you.
Oh, I’m certain you’re doing your part to heal the world through your writing :-).
I’m not surprised people remember those experiences in their 80s – I think those experiences in our early years shape the way we respond to social situations all our lives.
They surely do, Andrea. Those years are foundational in many ways.
Such an important message … congratulations on the award 🙂
I found this post on reader and I just want to thank you for addressing the issue of bullying and promoting kindness! I was also bullied in school and I remember how terrible it made me feel!
Congratulations on your award! Wishing you much happiness and success!
Thanks very much for visiting and for your kind remarks, Cherie.
My best wishes to you.