SNAP: Stories for Living

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Story #21 – HE SAW A HERO IN ME

His second letter concluded, “You are special – just because you're you!” My television neighbor (and occasional pen-pal) was so excited that I had decided to become a school counselor and work with adolescents and their struggles. My goal was to treat them as well as I had been treated by most of the adults in my life; and certainly much better than I had been treated by my abuser. I just wanted to help my kids, and to do so would require strengths.

I realized long ago that many useful strengths were nurtured and developed through my television neighbor's program. When I was a young child he began to teach me all of the basics of human relationships. He sang a song declaring that everybody is fancy, suggesting that we all deserve respect. Another song said that we like people for who they are, and not for what they own. He said that we all get angry and that it is OK. At times he talked and sang about feeling hurt, happy, or even just silly. During high school I discovered an old album of his songs and found them to be so beautiful, honest, and useful in their simplicity. “Be brave, and then be strong,” said one particular march. In college, when I first began to struggle profoundly with the effects of abuse, I reverted to the basics and tried to remember those lessons. On some days those simple children's songs gave me the strength to wait one more day and see if the darkness would be lightened just a bit.

Though he passed away several years ago, and even though his program is rarely broadcast these days, I think of him often. His lessons still counteract my abuse at times by giving me strength and hope. His books remind me of the importance of self care. Because of him I know that some people really are warm and caring without expecting anything in return, and I know that I can be that sort of person for my own students...because I am special. Thanks, Mr. R.

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