I was an extremely good kid growing up. I very rarely got in trouble at school, and was only written-up once, in first grade. My friend, Anthony got into a fight with another boy (whose name I can’t remember) on the playground. I stood in the tanbark, watching the two 6-year-olds push each other. I don’t think it lasted long before the yard teacher, who was also Anthony’s mother, marched over. The boys were separated and the one boy was given a “pink slip” for fighting. I was given one for watching. It never occurred to me to contest the fairness or to tell my parents that night. I was too embarrassed.
The next day, instead of playing, we each chose a library book and sat on the wall, watching our peers run and jump. We were supposed to read, but I cried the entire recess. The boy scooted over and patted my arm; he was used to missing recess. He told me not to worry, but I was inconsolable.
Thinking back on that moment, I am amazed at the grace that boy offered. I never played with Anthony after that day and I can’t remember the other boy’s name, but his gesture has stuck with me. I need to remember this moment in times when I forget to offer grace to others; when I need it most for myself.