When I was in fifth grade, at Vandever Elementary school, a police officer would come to my classroom to “DARE to keep kids off drugs”. DARE stood for Drug Abuse Resistance Education and was “an education program that seeks to prevent the use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior”.
Every time an officer came to the classroom, he brought a stuffed bear. Somewhere over the course of the day’s message, he would place the bear on someone’s desk. Someone with very good behavior.
I wasn’t interested in drugs.
I was very interested in having the bear put on my desk.
I sat up straight, raised my hand to answer questions, kept my eyes attentive to the officer, talked at the proper times (something I had difficulty with … and may still have).
Not once did that bear sit on my desk.
I wanted so badly to be seen, acknowledged, affirmed, picked.