Sometimes the smallest gestures make the biggest impact. Cline second-grader Darius Goharkhay proved that whenever he forfeited his team’s win to his classmates.
During a review game for an upcoming math test, Goharkhay’s team was about to win the game when he noticed one of classmates looking sad.
“I knew we were going to win the game, but I saw my friend was down and I felt bad for him and I wanted him to cheer up,” Goharkhay said.
His teacher Brittany Jumper noticed too.
“We had a friend, a competitor of Darius’s, and it was his turn to go in the game and he got a little bit nervous and started to feel defeated,” Jumper said. “Darius recognized that even though the student was not in his group. I talked to the student, tried to cheer him up a little bit, we went on with the game, then Darius came up to me.”
Goharkhay had just spoken with his teammates and, after getting their approval, made a request to Jumper.
“He had teary eyes and I could tell he was very sincere,” Jumper stated. “He asked if his team won if they could forfeit their win to the other team to make the other student feel better.”
She said the request blew her away.
“This age group tends to be very competitive, and for him to be mature enough to say it really doesn’t matter and what really matters is someone else’s feelings, it just touched my heart,” Jumper said.
By doing what Goharkhay and his teammates did, they had given up a reward five extra minutes of recess (which is a very big deal at their age).
“He would rather his classmate be happy than get the reward,” Jumper said. “At that point, I thought it was the best thing I had ever heard and I let them all have an extra five minutes at recess.”
Being kind brings him joy, Goharkhay said.
“I like to put others’ happiness before my own. It’s fun for me and it makes me more happy,” Goharkhay stated. “At this school, we learn if you’re nice to somebody, then somebody else will be nice to you.”
Outside of school, Goharkhay has learned to put others before himself from his parents.
“They like to teach me how to be nice. They’re super-duper nice to everybody,” Goharkhay said. “When I grow up, I want to be that nice to them and other people.”
Jumper said she believes he is already following in their footsteps.
“The way he is, is the way we all strive to be in life,” Jumper said. “To have that much compassion for classmates at seven years old, it’s amazing.”
From forfeiting his win to including everyone at recess, Jumper said Goharkhay is a great role model for his classmates.
“Just watching the ways he interacts with his peers, the way he cares for his classmates, watching the choices he makes and how caring he is, they’ll want to be like him,” she said. “He influences his classmates and other kids in the school to be better bucket fillers and be better versions of themselves.”
His peers are not the only ones who could be influenced by Goharkhay. According to Jumper, he serves as a role model to those older than him too.
“We get so busy in our schedules and routines, then someone like Darius does such a wonderful thing and it makes us stop and think to take time each day to make sure the things we’re saying and doing for other people are going to make them feel good about themselves,” Jumper said. “What Darius did will remind each of to do that.”