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The eager cry of a child’s “Pick me!” has the power to stir anxiety as well as anticipation in the hearts of young and old alike. The scene that unfolded on the green hills at Plumfield a few weeks ago was no exception.

The boy wiggled, his little body in constant motion. “Pick me! Pick me!” His face, his whole self radiated with the new: new day, new school, new year and he was ready to play Capture the Flag. The adults waited and watched, quiet with expectation as students gathered for the age old ritual, the one with power to affirm the popular and the outcast alike: picking teams.

The captains pointed, and called forth team members. The little boy’s enthusiasm barely wavered. He was bouncing, waving his Indiana Jones hat, barely aware of the dwindling number in the initial crowd. One child was calledthen anotheruntil, finally it was this little boy, chosen last. The world seemed to hang in the balance as the adults, each lost in their own world, clouded with the possibilities of disappointment and hurt, wondered silently about this drama playing out.

Before the realization of rejection could descend upon this small child’s face and begin the lightening quick zap to his heart,  the captain stepped up. With a genuine grin, he cried “Hey buddy! Come on, you’re on our team! Let’s go, bring that lucky hat of yours over here!” That captain, older, wiser and a perfect example of the magnanimous person, started a round of high fives that his whole team completed with that young soul.

What a glorious redemption of a storyline that all too often ends with shame or rejection. This scene was a balm to the adults who witnessed it, pure grace pouring out. Those children on the field were the salve, both in preserving one another’s dignity and in reminding us that an act of kindness is no small thing.

By Jennifer Drummond

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