While I was scrolling through Facebook's list of people from my graduating class at Rockville High, I was surprised at how many of those people I would actually be glad to see again. High school was an unremittingly miserable experience for me, but actually the number of people who actively worked to make it difficult was very small. Most of my classmates were bystanders who failed to intervene, and a few were stalwart friends.
One good thing about working with teenagers is that I have a very real sense now of what it's fair to expect of a 14 year old's judgment, a 15 year old's, and so forth. Retroactively holding the piranhas and the bystanders to adult standards of civility wouldn't do anybody any good, so I'm just as glad to find I'm loosening my grip on the old grievances. I never thought that would happen.
And when I look back on the moments of real kindness, knowing what I know now about adolescents, I'm all the more impressed by the courage of some of my classmates. There are people I'd like to thank, and I have a two-decades-belated apology or two to give, myself.
Four weeks left to steel myself. If I can do this, I probably should.