Mother of 12-year-old Marla explained to me that her 12-year-old daughter was one of the “Barn Kids” and not one of the “Populars.”
Instinctively, I sort of knew what she meant, but asked for elaboration.
“Well, the Barn kids are like in their own corner of the universe. They love hanging with the horses, shoveling hay, cleaning stalls and doing all sorts of other odd jobs around the barn. They don’t have phones or other screens down at the barn. They just hang with the horses and sometimes a little with each other.”
I ask, how Marla get along with the other Barn kids.”
“Great…totally the opposite of how she is with the Populars or in school. An interesting side-note is that the Barn Kids are all different ages, from maybe seven up to teens.”
“With the Populars,” she continued, “they’re always clustering on their phones, going on Tik Tok, talking and gossiping with each other. From what I can tell, they can be a pretty tough group. Marla is very skittish about them.”
When I meet Marla we talk about her love of the barn and she tells me how it all works. She didn’t feel like an outsider there, pressing her nose to the glass trying to get in the club as she always feels around the popular kids. She also proudly shows me a video of herself in a jumping competition that she had recently won. (The Populars knew nothing about her victory.)
There wasn’t much she had to say about the Populars, other than on occasion they could make fun of her, but she felt she was learning to cope when she had to be around them.
Beside, when she started to feel stressed and had trouble coping, she knew her horse was a great listener!
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