Home Commentary It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

“It’s my job to be on social media. To know what’s trending, to weed through the negative, to not take it personal, and to create beauty in this techy world. And every now and then a post stops me in my tracks. Wednesday, February 8, 2023, was that day. The morning to be exact.

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It had already been a tough week as a mom and the night before was extremely restless. As I looked at my phone through the fog that morning, a post had been shared by a friend and it immediately captured my attention.

The author was a dad asking for help.

His Pine Forest High School student was struggling. He told his community – our community – about his son’s physical challenges of cerebral palsy and epilepsy (I can relate to this one). Better yet, he posted about his mental struggle and that every day he sits alone in a cafeteria, completely alone. My heart broke for this kid. And every kid who sits alone, in a crowded, loud lunchroom, hoping someone says hi today. And it broke for these parents, who just want their child to be seen for the amazing kid he is.

As someone who always wants to help fix problems and make people feel included, my fingers went to screenshot this post and send it to my son’s best friend who attends this high school. But the moment was interrupted, and my day began, never having sent the text.

Not long after lunch I was back on social and saw a friend share a picture.  Ashton’s table was full of students, including the athletes, hanging out with a kid who went completely unnoticed yesterday. And right by his side was my son’s best friend.  And as I processed this beautiful display of community on a random Wednesday, I learned a few things.

It takes guts to ask for help. How often do we cry about a problem alone never reaching out or asking for help? Even to our best friends. Because we don’t want our child labeled or our image of ‘great parents’ tarnished? What hangs in the balance when we don’t let go of our pride and ask for help?

There are so many people like Ashton at every school. Are we noticing them?

Are we teaching our kids to look for the child sitting alone?  

What if this one request for help, returned with love and kindness, changes our community?

I hope this is a conversation continues in every school. I hope the teachers and coaches take notice at what happened at Pine Forest High School on this random weekday. And I hope that one day, not one child will be left sitting alone in a crowded, noisy lunchroom.

It takes a village.”

Karen Jolly, Jesus following, husband loving, local mom of 3.

Insta @the_real_kstar

*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Karen is a part of our Community Voices.  Community Voices is a group of Pensacola city dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise.  We will be introducing the full group of Community Voices soon.