The courage of a second grader

Perhaps when you think of courage, images of soldiers, police officers and fire-fighters immediately pop into your head. These people are certainly among the first I think of. However today I am going to share a different “Portrait of Courage.”

When my son was seven years old, in second grade, he had a friend who suffered from alopecia areata. Alopecia simply means “hair loss.” You are probably familiar with the alopecia that occurs as a result of chemotherapy. However alopecia areata, is a disease in which one’s own immune system attacks hair follicles causing hair loss. Sometimes it is permanent, sometimes it isn’t. Liam’s friend was a perfectly normal, healthy, second grader who happened to also be perfectly bald.

One day, the entire student body was being positioned on the front steps of the school for a photograph. Some older boys stood behind Liam and his friend. These boys started to call Liam’s friend cruel names. My little boy turned around and confronted these much bigger boys by saying, “He has a disease called alopecia and what you are doing isn’t nice.” Maybe he embarrassed them. Maybe they were simply shocked by a much smaller boy standing up to them. Whatever the reason, the boys stopped.

I think it takes a lot of courage to stand up to bullies, especially when doing so on another person’s behalf and I have always been very proud of Liam for this simple act of friendship. Sometimes all it takes is another person who is willing to stand beside you to help you find your own inner strength and courage.

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7 Responses to The courage of a second grader

  1. Mary Morgan says:

    What a beautiful story, Ceci. Acts of kindness start at home, so I believe he had good teachers. 🙂

  2. cecigiltenan says:

    Thanks Mary. 🙂

  3. Sue-Ellen Welfonder says:

    Your son was/is a true hero, Ceci. What a beautiful thing for him to do.

  4. Linda says:

    Your little guy is very special and God love him for the courage he had to stand up for his friend, when most would have said nothing. Courage as well as all the good things we teach our children always starts at home. God Bless you Ceci for blessing this child with strong values.

    • cecigiltenan says:

      Thanks for your kind words. My little guy isn’t quite so little anymore! He is 21 and tops out at 6’2″ –he would make an impressive medieval warrior!

      I agree, it takes strong values to see the right and wrong in a situation and choose to stand up for what is right. I hope both of my children continue to make courageous choices throughout life!

  5. Annie Khemraj says:

    Hi Ceci!

    I agree your “little guy” would definitely make an awesome medieval warrior!

    I also agree, courage do come in all sizes, shapes & forms! I remember a very recent experience before my gramps passed away, I finally got the courage to tell my uncle (gramps youngest son) & his wife to go to hell!

    My poor gramps was fighting for his last breath & here my uncle comes waltzing in at the nursing home gramps was residing in & demanding legal documents for our property back home (South America) So he can gave control & ownership of the home. I got so angry & that was when I told my uncle to go to hell, I’m quite certain Satan has a very special spot just for him! He stared at me & then walked out of gramps room (good riddance I say!) Since then, I don’t talk to him or his family.

    I could never stand bullies! I’m glad I was there at the time to defend my grandfather & protect him as much as I could!

    • cecigiltenan says:

      I’m sorry you went through this very difficult situation during such a sad time in your life. I am also glad you had the courage to stand up to your own personal bully!

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