Just Be There

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

The kids and I were in NYC last week—their fall break and my monthly stop-in. They spent their days hanging out in the office with me, and we spent our nights finding mischief of one kind or another.

And during this Anti-Bullying month, this month where I’ve been thinking about the power of kindness as one of our most important tools to prevent bullying in its tracks, I was so grateful for the kindness of my co-workers last week.

As per usual, the kids spent most of their time in the office on roller skates.  Loud, on wooden floors. They also led mini-trainings throughout the week… the Try Not To Laugh Challenge, the Akinator Challenge, the Whisper Challenge, golf lessons, rubix cube lessons, face painting.  And don’t get me started on Dylan’s Fortnite Dance Challenge or Marlowe’s kindness chain/Musically Challenge. All this during one of the busiest times of roll-out we have during a school year. They left sticky remnants of snacks wherever they went, and toys to trip on at every turn. They were my beautiful, smart, funny, messy kids.

And at every moment, at least one of my co-workers was right there by their side. Encouraging them. Laughing with them. Wrestling them. Dancing with them. (And helping and encouraging ME when they spotted my nerves starting to fray.)

Just, there.

When none of them had time to spare, they spared it.

It’s amazing what happens when you’re just there. When you let go of all the things you’re supposed to be doing and allow space for what actually shows up right in front of you.  Potentially on roller skates.

Kindness says “I see you.” It says “I hear you.” It says “Okay, okay, I’ll put down my phone right now for you.” Kindness says “I’m here.” Kindness is just, there. Waiting for any of us.

There are so many moments of so many days that I was I could re-write and show up with more kindness. Or just show up at all.

But I have right now.

And so do you.

How can you just be there?



Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.