I’m in line for coffee this morning.

Behind me is a kid about my son’s age, and behind him, a woman.

She starts making conversation.

She asks his grade. He says he in sixth grade.

“Aren’t you kinda short for your age?” she asks.

I turn around and stare a hole in her, hoping she realizes that’s a dumb thing to say to a kid.

Is he short for his age? No idea. I don’t go around measuring sixth graders. Obviously, this woman does in her spare time.

But does he now think he’s short? Probably. And even if he isn’t, he’ll think he’s less than. He’ll think he doesn’t measure up.

And if he’s much smaller than kids his age, he’s probably well aware and didn’t need one more person pointing it out.

Now he’s on the way to school and probably feeling hurt, upset, and angry. He’ll take out his frustrations on another kid, who will take it out on another, and on and on.

This is how bullying starts: with dumb comments from adults who spent their childhood believing they didn’t measure up physically or mentally.

Be the adult you needed when you were a kid—TO ALL KIDS.

This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page

Chris Illuminati

I'm a writer, dad to two and stuck in NJ.