There are times when we all want to feel invisible. We find a corner of a room or put our head in our book so that we won’t be noticed. For whatever reason, we just need to escape for a while and not be included. And then there are times when we are made to feel invisible. Entering a room and not being greeted, whispered conversations or private jokes, it is like we are not there at all.
Today I watched as a child searched all over the room for a partner while my daughter stood right in front of her. Moments later, I watched as my daughter walked right through a group of girls as if they weren’t there at all. Invisible, like she couldn’t be seen. Both ignoring and being ignored.
Lots had led up to my daughter being excluded by these girls. Some of her own behaviors have contributed to it. And some of it has to do with mean girls being mean. I try to stay out of it and let the girls navigate through it, but today bothered me more because we were at church. Apparently, despite our language of inclusion we can’t break through the stereotypes here.
But I did nothing to point that out today. I don’t want to embarrass or reprimand here. I want everyone to feel welcome. But my lack of voice today denied this welcome to my own daughter.
It’s hard to know when to interfere when you notice “invisible” moments. Sometimes students want to be left alone, and really have no desire to be part of the group. Sometimes, kids will shrug off the mean kids and find comfort where they are included. But if we never interfere, do we miss our moments of teaching empathy and individual value with our students? Do we miss opportunities to recognize that even the smallest snub could lead to great hurt?