A photo made the rounds recently that purportedly showed two football players from North Carolina State eating lunch with a boy they didn’t know. The photo tugged at my heartstrings, as the idea of people eating alone, being lonely or friendless breaks my heart. I’ve had pockets of loneliness in my life. Sometimes it helped me get stronger. Sometimes it was just the worst.
As it turns out, one of the pictured football players actually knew the guy they were having lunch with, so he wasn’t a stranger to them. Thus, the elusive cure for loneliness is still waiting to be found. Christian Bucks, a second-grader in York, Penn., is hot on its trail, however.
According to The Huffington Post (via the York Daily Record), he had a “buddy bench” installed at his school’s playground so that any kids feeling lonely during recess would have a place to go for a little camaraderie.
The buddy bench isn’t Christian’s invention — he first spotted once in a brochure for a school in Germany when his family was considering relocating overseas for his dad’s job. When Christian talked to the principal at his school, Roundtown Elementary School about his idea, the response was immediate and positive.
The benches are generally painted with bright colors, and the idea is to have them help “grow our dream circle of friends,” Christian told the newspaper.
“We show we care about others when we ask others to play. I also hope that new friendships will be made because of the buddy bench.”
It’s such a lovely idea to think that a simple bench could encourage friendships and make those alone feel a little less so. Hopefully there won’t end up being a stigma attached to the bench in that those who frequent it are less desirable friends to those who don’t feel they need it. After spending time in my older daughter’s kindergarten class this year, I have no doubt that so many kids mean well and have hearts (mostly) of gold. They know all the right answers when you ask them how they should treat others. But when it comes time for them to do the right thing, unfortunately sometimes many of them take the more popular route, which often far from the most golden option.
While it remains to be seen if any new friendships will come of the bench at Roundtown Elementary School, if you’re looking for a story to mend a lonely or broken heart, this one about Christian and his kind soul might just do the trick.
Photo credit: Wikipedia