Resolving Gratefulness - Setting an Example

“I have two questions. Why are these kids here? And can I join you?” The girl, dressed in black with greasy hair and a half-empty coffee cup in hand, catches me off guard with her direct approach. We’re standing in line for the Circle cinema, where our son’s class is about to watch ‘The Outsiders.’ This film adaptation revolves around the class struggle between the ‘socials’ and the ‘greasers’ in the 1960s. Since the film was shot in Tulsa, it’s obligatory viewing for these kids. A mother beside me explains to the girl that the class is here to watch a movie, to which the girl decides to walk in with us.

She’s not much taller than the other kids and seems to blend into the crowd. I’m astonished by her audacity and let it unfold. I briefly consider intervening but my curiosity prevails.

Once inside, I spot her at the convenience stand.. Does she need to pay for the movie? Yes, I assume so. “Oh dang,” she accepts my bad news and walks back outside. So, I’m surprised to see her walking back in a few minutes later, joining the back of the line. What motivated her to try again? Her return doesn’t go unnoticed, and a teacher asks her to leave the building. She departs without protest.

The kids from the class, armed with their pocket money, indulge in large bags of popcorn and huge cups of soda, settling comfortably in the cozy cinema hall. Unfortunately, the film isn’t meant for parents, so I find a spot in the foyer where I can retreat with a book. 

Shortly after, the girl returns, her coffee cup now empty. Perhaps she’s looking for the restroom? She lingers for a moment, eyeing ‘The Outsiders’ black T-shirt displayed in the window, then leaves again.

The aimless wandering of the girl tugs at my heartstrings. It’s as if the film is unfolding right before my eyes. The outsider, the greaser, who seems to belong nowhere. And then those privileged kids with their liters of soda in the cinema. Inequality is timeless, and I no longer pretend to have the solution. However, I do resolve to be more grateful for all my privileges and to set an example for my children in gratitude. To see others from a thankful heart.

What are you grateful for?

-Tine

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