The Compliment Bag

When you have a child like mine, you really don’t know what his classmates think of him…or actually if they know much about him at all!

On Friday, my son brought home a “compliment bag.”  Inside this decorated brown lunch bag, was 24 little slips of folded up paper.  By the time I found it, my son’s mind had already switched from his day of school to deep in the middle of Mine Craft.

“What’s this?” I asked.  He didn’t turn around and kept playing.  His body was tense and he was half standing up.

I took the bag, walked over to him and sat down.  “Can you tell me about the bag and the papers inside?”

He quickly glanced over and then returned to “the most critical part of my game.” Shortly later I heard, “Oh, that is my compliment bag.”

“Is it okay if I look inside or is it private?”  Honestly, I would have looked later on.

“You can look if I don’t have to stop playing.”

I dumped out the bag and started to unfold each of the slips of paper.

On each piece it said, “I’m glad that I know you because…” and then there was a blank line provided where a classmate wrote something and signed his/her name.

As I read each slip, I smiled and started to group them into categories on the counter.

There were 5 slips that mentioned how funny my TBP was in class.  There were 2 that spoke about his interest in Star Wars and without much surprise, there were 9 slips that referenced his love (obsession) of Mine Craft.  One slip, said that he was great at tag and another said that he wore glasses.  I have a feeling that perhaps the “you wear glasses” comment came from a girl who either had glasses herself or struggled to think of something about my boy.

The one slip that made my eyes water was, “You are a good friend and you are helpful.”

That 8-year-old girl that filled out that slip, had no way of knowing but… she made this 40 something year old woman feel so proud, happy & relieved!

This exercise, was exactly what I needed as a parent to know that my son’s classmates DO know him and they see the good things that I witness!  Yes, he is an expert about Mine Craft and he loves Star Wars.  He does wear glasses and he is learning to be better at tag.  The five slips about being funny….he is hilarious!  I only hope that his strong desire to make people laugh isn’t the interruption that I fear that it can be!

After a bit of gaming and a snack,  I said, “Which slip did you like the best?”

“I really liked them all because now I can tell that they have been listening!”

So true, my son!  So true!

8 thoughts on “The Compliment Bag

  1. I love that idea! I am also a teacher and it brought tears to my eyes! School is out now but I will definitely do this next year!

  2. This made me tear up! What a sweet way to get kids focusing on the positive aspects of their classmates. What a wonderful gift that you got to read such sweet comments about your son.

  3. I had a teacher do this when I was in grade 7 and I still have the sheets and I’m *cough* 37. I was a very shy and quiet kid and really only had 1 or 2 close friends. Truly an introvert. I would read and read them and I knew some of them were robotic answers but I also knew which ones were real and genuine and they meant a lot. I have never taught kids this young (only high school) but I would do it with my class as well because everyone needs to hear nice things about themselves. I am knew to the social media world but I have been following your blog and it is great!

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