Ravi Kahlon is well-regarded for his Olympic achievements in field hockey and role in provincial politics, but the Canadian’s latest accomplishment isn’t in the professional sector. Rather, the B.C. cabinet minister is making waves for a heartwarming tweet about his 10-year-old son.
On Wednesday, Kahlon shared on the social media platform how his son’s day at school had gone: During lunch, he and a friend saw a new classmate was sitting alone, so they decided to fix that and join him.
The thoughtful gesture led Kahlon to tweet “proud-dad moment today.” And having friendly kids to talk to clearly meant the world to the new kid, who shared a letter with his Kahlon’s son after class.
“Sitting with me outside felt better than anything,” began the letter, which was decorated with a drawing of a rainbow. “Thank you so much. I would like to ask you if I can start joining you guys outside.”
As many may remember from their own childhoods, feeling like an awkward outsider at a new school can be terribly isolating.
Kahlon’s sweet story of empathy and budding friendship struck an emotional chord, and gained more than 250,000 likes within 24 hours.
Many parents replied to his viral tweet with stories about their own children’s difficult experiences in the school yard.
How precious friendship can be for neurodivergent kids, in particular, was a recurring theme in the thousands of replies Kahlon received.
Having friends can play a big part in a child’s emotional development. And besides allaying a parent’s worries, research shows friendship is good for one’s physical and emotional health.
There are many ways parents can help a neurodivergent kid learn how to make friends — watching over their playdates and encouraging their positive interpersonal skills, like sharing toys are some of ADDitude Magazine’s suggestions.
For kids who may prefer less hands-on guidance from their parents, they may benefit from tips that nurture their innate empathy; younger kids can grow more thoughtful when asked how they think another family member feels at any given time. Older kids can shape their own skills by modelling after the friendly grown-ups in their lives.
Raising a kid who is ready to make friends with new classmates, but doesn’t know how to approach them? According to CBC Kids, kids can’t go wrong with a simple hello, a smile, and an engaging question like “What’s your favourite class?”
For children who make the effort to reach out to those who feel alone, their actions may seem small. But for kids like Kahlon’s son’s new friend, the memory of that thoughtful gesture can last a lifetime.
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