A Boy’s Take on Masks: Be Nice

I am a fourth grader, but even fourth graders have opinions about things. My mom says that I should write more and that I should say my opinions but respectfully.

So respectfully, you should wear a mask.

I am learning how to write essays now, and my mom is an editor, so I get better help than a lot of kids because she wins awards and is strict about it. For instance, she told me that I couldn’t say people are dumb if they don’t wear masks, which was helpful.

You should wear a mask because a lot of doctors who are very smart say it is a good way to stay safe from coronavirus. I learned over the summer, because my mom is kind of mean, that when the governor said everyone had to wear one, less people got sick. Or fewer. My mom says fewer. 

I have autism, and sometimes things bother me. I also have to be very careful and learn about people, because sometimes I don’t understand them, and I have to try to be empathetic. Empathetic is when you care about someone, and you show it. It’s hard.

So wearing a mask isn’t easy for me. I understand that it is not easy for a lot of people. It bothers me. But you know what? When I go out, I wear a mask til I can’t stand it, and then I go home. I don’t take it off because I’m tired of it and then give everyone my germs. 

That’s rude.

But while I learn empathy, I also understand that when I wear a mask, I make people feel safe. To me, that is important. My dad says that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Wearing a mask is hard, but it’s important to be nice to other people, even if you might think that wearing a mask is dumb. 

It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, and I think people should do it more often, for no reason at all, other than it’s good to do it. It’s not really about rights, or whether you believe this science or that science, it’s about being nice.

We should all be nicer because the world is full of mean people. We don’t have to be one of them.

Thank you for reading this, I worked hard on it, and my mom made me change things because I kept using the word dumb.

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John Erickson

John Erickson, the son of deputy editor Bethany Erickson, is a fifth-grader at Chapel Hill Preparatory in Dallas. He recently won a National Newspaper Award for a story he wrote about Roger Farkash, the mastermind behind the Trains at NorthPark display.

2 thoughts on “A Boy’s Take on Masks: Be Nice

  • November 15, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    John, as a retired 4th grade teacher I would like you to know that I enjoyed reading your paper. Your paper was very well written, and the content is exactly what many people need to hear right now. Thank you for taking the time to remind people that children have thoughts and feelings about wearing masks to prevent the spread of Covid. I wish that more adults out there had the unselfish and caring attitude that you displayed in your paper. If you were my student, I would have given your paper an “A+”. Keep writing, John, you have a natural talent to share with others.


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