Dănuţ and His Confessions


     The schoolyard was crowded with the students out on the big break. The air was filled by their voices. Girls and boys, big and small, were running around caressed by the warm rays of the spring sun. Here and there, groups of children were talking while eating their lunches. I was with them and it was easy for me to read the joy on their faces. Suddenly, I hear a child crying. I hurry towards him; it was none other than my student, Dãnuţ, a frail little person in a blue uniform, a little too big for him. His eyes, shaded by long, black eyelashes, rolled down heavy tears.
- Why are you crying? I asked, while wiping the river of tears with a tissue.
- My classmates don’t let me play football. They say I can’t… they even beat me…
    I took him by the hand and we headed towards the group of children playing with the ball. I learned that, indeed, Dãnuţ was not wanted because he couldn’t really play but, moreover, he would spit on then whenever he was getting angry. The bell interrupted our discussion. The break was over and, one by one, students went back to their classes. We were having our Civic Education class. I was really glad that I was able to solve the conflict appeared during the break. Not all of the children were aware of the incident, so Dãnuţ and the others involved were asked to explain what had happened. First, I asked George to tell us what happened, the boy who hit him: - I didn’t let him play with us because yesterday he spit inside my lunch box, leaving me hungry. And it is not his first time. During the first break, he spit on Maria for not letting him take a look at her nicely colored story book.
- We are not talking about Maria now, we are talking about you, George.
Then, turning to Dãnuţ:
- Is this true? Did you spit in his lunch box?
- Yes, teacher, but I asked him for some snacks and he wouldn’t give me any. Then I became really angry and… I spit. Now I admit I was wrong.
Anda, who witnessed everything, said:
- I want to say that today, Dãnuţ was sent off the fi eld and bullied without having done anything. Upset for not being accepted in their group and for being bullied, he only wanted to defend himself and he found the easiest way to take revenge.
- Children, I will suggest a game for us today. Daunt will set at a desk and at the end, we will let him talk. We will divide into two groups, boy – the accusers and girls – the defenders. The boys will accuse Dãnuţ and the girls will defend him. But pay attention, you will have to bring arguments. Allow me to be your judge today.
     The accusers:
- We accuse Dãnuţ of spitting in the lunch box!
- We defend Dãnuţ, because he is just a child and we all know very well that he is a greedy with food.
When he asked for the snacks, George could have given him some and, maybe explain to him that always asking from others was not a nice thing to do. Moreover, if he wants something to eat, he should buy it himself, especially that his parents don’t often say no to him.
- We accuse him for insisting to play with his classmates, considering his behavior the previous day. If they decided not to have him on the football field, he shouldn’t have been there.
- It is not his fault that he wants to play with his classmates, and he should not have been punished today for a mistake he made yesterday. We are placing ourselves in his shoes, wondering what we would have done had we not been allowed to play, had we been bullied by some lads?... You see he is so tiny and skinny. How should he defend himself? He wasn’t thinking much, and in those moments of anger and humiliation, he took his revenge spitting.
- His gesture was really ugly. He spit the team captain, as he was throwing him off the fi eld. Nobody is allowed to have such a behavior, taking into account that the teacher and even some of your parents explained to him many times that this was not acceptable.
- We accuse George’s gesture! If only he had accepted him in his team, if he had treated him nicely, we are sure Dãnuţ would not have reacted in this way.
- Now it is my duty to give a verdict. Is Dãnuţ guilty or innocent? Is he a mean child, and should he not be allowed to play with his colleagues? Is he a good child, taking into consideration that he loves his classmates and wants to be with them? No, Dãnuţ is not a mean child, he is the same as the others. What he did, spitting, was a humiliating, nasty thing to do. This, I have to disapprove, but in the same time I cannot overlook what the classmates did leading to this behavior.
     Everyone was silent. Some lowered their heads, afraid to catch my eyes. They were ashamed. Maybe each of them was analyzing their deeds: good or bad. Looking down and ashamed, Dãnuţ said with a trembling voice,
- I would like to say that I am not at all proud of what I did and I apologize.
But, teacher, because the game is now over, I would like to ask my colleagues to accept me in their play group. I love them so much and I really need them! I need their affection, their appreciation… when I came to school in first grade, I thought I would find in school the brothers and sisters I never had in my own family, whom I wanted to so much… Do you know what it means to not have a sibling, to have a mother forced to work many hours overtime and you, just a little person, to be scolded, and sometimes even beaten by…
     He could no longer control himself and started crying. He recollected for a second and then went on ,I know, dear friends, but I am alone and I have no one to talk to. I go to my room, I squeeze my fists tight and shortly after, I realize there is nothing I can do. And then I have so much pain in my soul… Without even realizing, this pain becomes hatred. This hatred sometimes goes out on you, the ones I love from all my heart. On you, who do not understand me and do not know how much I need your affection. His words were very convincing. His message was clear enough.
- Dãnuţ, I forgive you, George said ashamed, now, after listening to you and the teacher, I realize how wrong I was. If we had treated you more nicely, you wouldn’t have resumed to such behaviors.
- I am glad we cleared things out together.
     I have been sure since the beeginning of this class that we would be able to solve this conflict. Our class is like a family for a good reason, and we have proved once again the importance of communication. Let us not forget, children, that violence can never be solved with more violence. We must communicate, open our hearts and only this way we will avoid situations that could make us feel ashamed. The bell rang just as the conclusions were drawn. I watched George approaching Dãnuþ and telling him:
- Do you want to be defense?
- Gladly. Come quick! This is only a small break!
The boys hurried out. The girls followed them for cheering. They were also very happy. What can I say? I trust that the seed I have just planted will give fruit, because the soil is good. I will just need to care for it every day.
    How did Dãnuţ manage to convince his colleagues that he is like them?
    Did you know that…
   ADHD begins in childhood and may persist during adulthood. ADHD is one of the most common behavioral problems seen in children and adolescents. Studies show that 5% of school-age children have ADHD symptoms. ADHD is three times more frequently diagnosed in boys than in girls.