One of my first friends in school was Anne. She had it all together, even in first grade. Her papers were perfect, she made A’s in everything, she had the best handwriting in the class, and she always smiled. My first feelings of being inadequate showed up when I was six years old.
In mid September I got a new pair of red shoes. I felt so pretty and smart in them, kind of like Dorothy … they were magical. One day in the hall after recess the third grade teacher, who was as scary as the wicked witch of the West, stopped right beside me and said, as if making an announcement, “What is that horrible smell?”
Everyone turned around in unison as I looked down to discover I had dog poop all over my new red shoe. As if on cue, “eeewww” echoed down the hall. The mean teacher took me by the hand to the office. I felt like a leper of Biblical times as the kids backed up against the wall to make sure I didn’t touch them.
When the principal took me back to the classroom my new red shoe looked like it had just come out of the box. I sat down at my desk next to Anne and she whispered, “It’s OK. I do stuff like that all the time.”
As hard as that was to believe, I wanted to. She never messed up, but because she was my friend she wanted me to understand people step in dog poop all the time. It was her way of saying we all mess up, maybe just not in front of a school full of people.
I’m amazed how often I manage to make a mess of things. I sometimes think if there was but one dog poop pile on a football field I was walking across, I would somehow find a way to step in it. I’m guessing a lot of us feel that way. I want to be more like Anne. I want to make it a point to encourage my friends and let them know, “It’s OK. Everyone does stuff like that all the time.” We all step in dog poop … even the perfect people