Accidental Empathy

The kid who plays Ralphie in the play is really good. I was talking to his mom last night, and she was talking about how he's wanted to be an actor for a while and telling me about their family and bleeblahbloo.

So I called my sister Joon after rehearsal and said, "Did you teach a kid named [Ralphie Parker]?"

And she was like, "[RALPHIE PARKER]!?!?" with that voice that says, Let me just tell you some things.

[Ralphie Parker] is a little ham, it seems. Joon didn't teach him, but she knew who he was; this is not a good sign among teachers.

I guess he got some recognition last year when he was in the spelling bee when, even if words were very easy to spell, he would say, "May I have the definition please?" or "Can you use it in a sentence?"

"Ah," I said. "Someone's been watching it on tv."

"Yeah," Joon said. "I think his mom had been coaching him. She's kind of ... well, she's a stage mother, is what she is. I'm surprised she hasn't been to all your rehearsals."

"Oh, but she has," I said. "She's always right there. You can tell she's really been working with him a lot." And I definitely did get a little bit of a "Sparkle, Shirley!" vibe from her.

"Yeah, he's ... different," Joon said. "He reminds me of Our Annoying Relative."

"Yeah. It really is like he's homeschooled, but he goes to public school during the day," I replied.

But later, I got to thinking: here's this woman who's moved here from Iceland, who's got one kid, who's a stay-at-home-mom, who's living in a dinkly little place where there's not a lot for her to do. And I thought, no WONDER she's so involved in her kid's life; there's really nothing else for her to focus on.

And it shocked me, because that's the first time in a long time ever that I've felt bad about making fun of somebody.

Maybe I am (finally) showing some emotional growth.
Maybe I am maturing as an individual.
Maybe I am learning something about compassion.

Maybe I am just sick. Two aspirin and a good night's sleep should take care of it.

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