Whiskey Girl

Today we had a girl show up to summer school wearing a shirt that said “Whiskey Girl” written in a font reminiscent of what appears on a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. My colleague and I were struck by the fact that that a nine-year-old girl was wearing a shirt that would be more appropriate on someone ten years older than her (Whether or not it’s ever appropriate to wear such a shirt is up for debate). For a moment, we went down the road of the parent’s lack of judgement when it dawned on me that the parent might not be able to read what’s on the shirt or at least understand the intent of its message. Sure enough, the girl is ELL.

I can’t really say whether or not the parent knows enough English to ascertain the vibe behind what her kid wore to school. My point is that there’s an entirely reasonable alternative explanation for the shirt besides “parent needs boundaries”. The incident reminds me of something my partner said a long time ago: “Assume the best of people and not the worst.” We tend to approach people and situations based on how we think things are but we can never tell one-hundred percent what the other side is going through. This definitely holds true for children. We have no idea what goes on once they leave our school. By trying to think of other reasons for off-task behavior or things that are just off, it’s easier for compassion to seep in. After all, we’re in this to help children become their best selves.

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