Over 86,000 people have shared her story, and even more have taken the lesson to heart. The humble exercise hit home for all of her students that day, and once she shared the experience online, was shocked at the number of people who reacted and shared it. It was just a plastic bag, but it meant so much more once we found out what was inside.
If you walk into our classroom now, you’ll see a bag hanging by our door. This bag contains everything our class carries to school that we consider problems or bad things in our lives. The things that distract us, sadden us, or make us angry.
Something I have found in common with every student conversation about something upsetting them is that the student believes he/ she is the only one who has a problem, hard life, family problem, whatever it may be.
So today, we all anonymously wrote down on paper what was heavy on our hearts, crumpled them up, and threw them. I mixed them all up and students had to pick one up and we all ready them out loud. I could not believe some of the things they have to deal with at home, and neither could their peers. It resulted in a lot of tears, a lot of hugs, a lot of “I had no idea so many people had hard things to deal with too.”
The message of the project, as I discussed with them, is that you never know the weight that people are carrying. It is so important to remember that when we interact with others. I wanted them to see that they were not alone and that they had a whole class of people who could relate and support them.
Our stories now hang by our door as a reminder to remember the “bag” others may carry with them.”
Taking a step back can open our eyes. Realizing that we aren’t alone is such a tough thing to come to terms with, and acknowledging that others are suffering just as much or more than us can create lasting friendships. Bullying will stop, and compassion will take its place. Caring for each other is a lesson that we should all learn – and it seems that the kids in Mrs. McCulloch’s class have learned this lesson well!