Awkward, shy, pale, scrawny, and scared out of my mind, I walked into my classroom for the first time. During 5th grade, I had to trade in my sheltered life of homeschooling for the ghetto, terrifying world of Canella Elementary. My first day of school, the lunch lady yelled at me for leaving my tray in the wrong place. There was so much standing in line in this new world. Even worse than the line-standing was the fact that my last name starts with an A. For those of you unfamiliar with line etiquette, lines are organized alphabetically. Therefore, “Angelo” was the line leader. Angelo, the girl who had never stood in a line before in her life, let alone led 20 intimidating peers all through the corridors and hallways of a school she had only stepped foot in last week. I cried every day after school for the first two weeks. These were some of the worst days of my life, and my mom was aware of that. To help soften the blow of this sudden life change, she began leaving special notes for us in our pack lunches. I cannot express how much these notes meant. They were the little, sparkling slivers of hope in what felt like an eternity of darkness, desk-sitting, and line-standing. I saved one of them that meant an awful lot. She printed this off some chain e-mail, I think, but it still makes me pause when I read it today.
For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.
Have a beautiful day. Be a little, sparkling sliver of hope.