When it comes to bullying, younger children are particularly cruel. If someone is unique, they are oftentimes tormented, teased, and left hurt (emotionally and sometimes physically). But some children intuit that our differences should be celebrated. This is what happened to bullied 5th-grader James Willmert in Minnesota. I wish there were more kids like this!
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James has not had an easy life. James has learning disabilities and his adopted father died in an accident when he was six. He was having trouble socializing after being bullied in school. It got to a point where he didn’t even want to go to recess!
But five of his classmates saw this as a problem and decided that there was not only strength in numbers, but there was a friendship waiting for them too. Inspired by compassion and their school’s anti-bullying curriculum, this group of boys befriended James on their own and gave him a reason to be happy again! They’re now his best friends and have even inspired James to start playing basketball. His mother says:
“Now he can barely eat his lunch to get outside to play with those guys.”
The kids all love sports, which is one of James’ passions. But once his five new friends found out that James didn’t have any sports video games, they all chipped in to buy him a Playstation 3 (with the help of their parents of course)! James’ mother says he had never had friends come visit the house before that day. It’s a day that he will likely never forget.
To see them all playing with each other, whether it’s football or video games, warms the heart to its very core. And when James tells the cameraman in the video “all of these guys are the best friends anyone could ask for,” it’s hard not to tear up. The friendship these boys have with each other is both meaningful and strong. It’s inspiring to know that there are kids who will stand up against bullies to protect their friends, no matter what.