Monday, February 01, 2016

An open letter to my 5th grade classmate, Michelle Furst


I couldn't find you on Facebook, so I'll write to you from my blog, and hope perhaps you'll come across it some day. I didn't want to write this letter at first, because it won't be flattering to me (and as you know, people usually only post things online that make themselves look good). But, it's sincere. And maybe some other 5th grader will stumble upon this post and find encouragement, or empowerment.

5th grade was a long time ago (1996-97), and you probably don't remember me. I wonder some days if you've chosen to forget 5th grade altogether. I've never forgotten you, though. Our class was so. cruel. to you. Everyone teased you relentlessly. And even though I didn't pick on you myself, I also never stood up to the ones who did. I never stood up when they brought you to tears in our classroom. When they erased your photo from their yearbooks and wrote "too ugly to be seen" in its place.

It's not enough to brush this off by saying "kids are cruel." While that may be the case, it doesn't excuse my passivity and lack of action, my self-preservation because I didn't want to be the next target. I could have, and should have, done something.

For what little it is worth now, almost two decades after the fact, I am sorry. When I have kids of my own, I will tell them your story, and I hope I can raise them into better human beings than I was.

I hope the last 19 years have treated you with more dignity than 5th grade. I hope you have grown into a strong and powerful force for good in this world. May God pour out abundant blessings upon your life, and bring courageous men and women to your side. I wish you well.

- Jeremy

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