Be Inclusive

My First Day as a Fifth Grader by Brad Powers, Psy.D.

When I reflect about being inclusive I immediately think about moving from the city to the country in the 4th grade. As "city kids” my sister and I quickly learned about how to survive, who was the toughest, and how to stay in/out of trouble. When we moved I will never forget our first days of school in the country. I had a kid approach me and say "I know you’re new here so I would like to help you meet people”. He then took the next several days introducing me to my classmates and helped me develop, what I didn’t know at the time would turn into lifelong, friendships. My sister didn’t have the same experience, she was in a fight the first week, didn’t have kids approach and welcome her, and didn’t feel as if she belonged.

That person, a 5th grader, potentially risked many things, including his reputation on taking the time to interact and welcome me. I can honestly say, that day, he shaped my interaction style, that had previously been very troubling, to a more humble, kind, and friendly approach. I often like to think about "paying that forward” and doing the same for others I recognize as "new” and try and make sure they feel as welcomed as I did my first day as a fifth grader.