Back to Parents' Voices Badge of Courage
Badge of Courage
A true life experience of a six year old

I was puzzled and perplexed at the extraordinary admiration and love in the twinkling brown eyes of my six year old son, Tyler. He sat beside me on the school bus home, arm extended high over his head, resting on my shoulder. "Mom, I am so proud of you! You made it! You're a teacher!" I pulled him close to me and kissed his forehead, "Thanks buddy!"

I take time off from my job for a half day each week to be a parent helper in his first grade class. To him, I had arrived at the top. He was proud of me. He did his best work on the days I participated. I chuckled at his competent, responsible and proud behaviors.

I came in one day, joyfully looking forward to cutting little black wheels for 23 bright yellow cardboard school buses. I found him curled in a corner sobbing miserably. He would not look at me. He would not talk to me. He was ashamed. Mrs. Anderly, his teacher, sat on the floor next to him, embraced him and waited. Slowly, patiently she gained his trust. He sobbed into her chest, sighed and told her, "The other boys in the class do not want me in their group because I wear a sissy bracelet." I saw the pain in her eyes and felt it my heart.

A few days later the school nurse, Carrie Palm, came to his class. (He asked me not to come.) All of his little class mates sat on the floor while she talked to them about health conditions. "We all have something," she said. "If I say something that you have, raise your hand. Glasses. Allergies. Asthma. Diabetes. Fillings or cavities. Can you think of anything else? Sometimes, if we have a special health condition, we wear a medical alert bracelet to tell people how to help us. Does anyone here have one?" "Tyler, will you come up front and show the class." As he walked forward eyes to the floor Mrs. Palm said, "Tyler wears a medical alert bracelet because he has diabetes. It can save his life."

Tyler suddenly became brave. He saw a lancet on the desk. He started telling the class about his diabetes. He held the lancet out to the class, poked his finger defiantly, squeezed a huge drop of blood out and held it before the class. Then, he took a syringe, told the class how he used it and held it up high for the whole class to see. The class was astonished! Tyler looked at them with understanding and said, "This is not a sissy bracelet. This is my badge or courage."

"Congratulations buddy. I am so proud of you! You made it! You are a teacher!"

Sheryl Hill receives e-mail at

Original posting: 1 Mar 98

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Last Updated: Wednesday March 16, 2005 16:45:04
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