After the school bell rang, a puffy, red-eyed teenage boy jumped in my car. He didn't want to make eye-contact. Holding off tears consumed all of his energy. But finally, after we'd left the school campus, he starred at me and whispered, "He didn't even read my letter." I knew what this meant to him.
My mind drifted back over 20 years. I felt the sting of teenage disappointment, embarrassment crawling up my neck like mercury in a thermometer, and the hot flushing of my face giving away my hurt. In that moment in my car, my heart ached for my son.
Honestly, I expected the school to refuse his request to participate in ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES. Too many liabilities...too little time ahead...too much to explain...too weird...all things I anticipated hearing. I assumed our conservative, East Texas town (that I genuinely love) wouldn't "get it." No problem. We had cautioned Hunter not to gamble on a positive answer to his letter. I didn't consider cautioning him it might be chucked without thought, set in a pile that makes its way to the wastebasket, or buffered by the secretary. Dang!
Our son's campus will miss out on ONE DAY WITHOUT SHOES, but he won't. As I explained, his letter is an ageless gift to his brother, a profession of his love. What to do, what to do? He begged permission to celebrate this day in honor of his brother (who's 1 year gotcha day just happens to coincide) regardless of the school's ruling. Ugh. Believe it or not, this girl does NOT go looking for conflict; and I fear this is the inevitable reaction should we allow him to go barefoot to school. So, I'm wondering. Would you allow your child to play hooky? Send him barefooted? Just give him the time before and after school for awareness' sake?...For the record I must say I'm sure this man-child is coming down with something that will overcome his system on April 5th.
As a side note, if you are still struggling to decide how to raise awareness for ODWS consider: Make a stencil for ODWS (I have a prototype I can email to you). Mix a cleaning agent solution. Using a scrub brush and your solution, place your stencil on the ground and clean the sidewalk in the open area of your stencil, leaving your message and a cleaner sidewalk for all to enjoy. Spread the word. Change the world.
Barefooted for a Reason,