A plea to students, parents, teachers and school faculty

There was a recent tragedy involving a young female student here at Watertown High School. I won’t go into details out of respect for her family. The whole sad scenario causes me to flash back to my high school days.

I have tried and tried but I can not figure out why I was so miserable and lonely in high school. It’s true, I was a fairly shy kid and it did not help that my high school in Phoenix at the time had about 4500 students. I was one of those kids who just got lost in the crowd. It led me to absolutely hate school. One of my clearest memories is the way I dealt with lunch time at school. The idea of going into the cafeteria was overwhelming to me because I had no one to sit by or to talk to. No one. So, for about two years, every lunch period, I would simply hide in different bathrooms until the bell rang. Many years have passed since high school and these memories still make me emotional.

I recall all the school assemblies felt the same way. One time there was some kind of pep rally at the football field during the day. Of course, I knew that I would be sitting by myself and that felt like more than I could bear. On this particular occasion I was caught for not being at the rally. I was taken to the principal’s office and was given some kind of punishment. The principal never asked me why I was off on my own. Maybe he was too busy. Maybe he forgot why he wanted to work with students in the first place. I do know that he looked right through me.

You may wonder, I know I do, why didn’t I ever tell anyone? Why didn’t I open up to anyone? My best guess is that I was embarrassed. Who wants to be the kid that is hiding in bathrooms while everyone else is carrying on with life? It was not until many years had passed that I felt the freedom to share some of these memories with others.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because during these years I was not a bad kid. I was shy. I was scared. I did not fit in with the crowd (or with anyone for that matter). You know what would have made all the difference to me during high school? If someone, student, teacher, faculty, had reached out to me and asked me how I was doing. Someone who would look beyond my aloof behavior and try to connect with me on a relational level. I honestly believe that if I had one good friend during high school that it would have made all the difference.

My encouragement to students, parents and school faculty is to look for those who are on the fringe. Look for those who don’t seem to have many friends. Don’t be quick to judge. You don’t know how tough their family life is. You don’t know the personal demons they are dealing with. You don’t know their fears, worries or concerns. Once you start looking I believe you will see them all around you. Then, take some small steps to reach out to them. Start asking them how they are doing. Share a meal with them. You never know when you are going to step into the life of a student who desperately needs someone that cares about them and will be a friend to them.


  1. So well written Michael, and I couldn’t agree more. And it isn’t just kids, but loneliness can follow us all our days. Thanks for this reminder and exhortation!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree John. This simple message applies to all stages of life I suppose. The need to always be looking for those who are struggling and reaching out to them. Good to hear from you!


  2. Wendy says:

    I was looking for the words-these words that you wrote so well. I hope you share this with schools. It could become a learning tool for teachers and students. Too many of our children are getting lost in the crowd. Thanks Michael!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are welcome! Thanks for reading and responding!


  3. Barb says:

    Thank you for sharing. It may save a life❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope this post encourages people to take the time to get involved in the lives of others. Good to hear from you. Have a nice day!


  4. Donna Jensen says:

    This is unfortunately very true, oftentimes our school days can be very lonely and even devastating. Many fail to even tell their parents what they are going through or feeling and for various reasons. Sadly also that can carry through into adulthood, we can feel lonely even amongst a crowd, like the world continues to come and go ,everyone is busy and no one appears to care. This is a very noisey world, we may preach or know we should reach out to others but neglect to do so for fear no one actually cares or perhaps we feel our problem isnt enough to bother others with. I guess id sum this up by saying persons of all ages and lifestyle can experience feelings such as these,however our students are especially vulnerable and often just get lost in the ‘shuffle ‘ of busy lives. Pastor Michaels post/message is most timely. We must take more time to observe those around us and make ourselves available ! After all,I believe its true that God is more interested in our availabilities than our abilities! I will pray ” God make me willing to be available “!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great thoughts, Donna! I agree with you 100%!


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