Monday, April 04, 2011

Life Lesson

My little girl is turning 6 soon. How time does fly. She is so excited about her birthday and has been asking for a birthday party for weeks. She wanted to know if she could invite Jenny, a girl from her school class. Her face lit up and was so happy when I said yes. Every day since, she has asked about the party and exclaimed how excited she was to invite Jenny. She has reminded me over and over to make sure that we make invitations today so she could take it to Jenny during school and to make sure that I put on there directions on how to get to our house because her mom wouldn't know.

I smiled at her pure delight and enthusiasm for that special day and the excitement of inviting her friend to the party. I kept thinking how glad I was that she had a really good friend at school that she wanted to invite and that she felt like was her friend.

Today after making the invitation and while eating lunch though, she opened my eyes to the real picture. "Jenny is always mean to me," she commented, having that look of introspection. It took me back. Why was she so excited to invite a girl that was mean to her? "Do you know why she is mean to you?" I asked. "No" was her answer.

"Do you play with her at recess?"

"No I play with Aslan."

"Would you feel bad if she didn't end up coming to the party?"

I wanted to know, not sure how this Jenny would feel about the party if she was constantly mean to her. She thought about it for a minute, smiled and shook her head no.

She jumped in the car clutching the invitation because she didn't want to forget it, rode all the way to school and declared, "There's Jenny!" when we pulled up to the school. She bounced out of the car and skipped over to the kids heading into the classroom, and I watched as she timidly approached her, and followed her into the school.

I left with my mind full of questions. Would she give it to her? Would Jenny be rude and brush the whole idea aside? Would she be happy and excited that Mirian invited her? Would she come? but the question most of all... "What makes this daughter of mine be so excited to invite someone that is mean to her all of the time to her special birthday party.

I left with my heart breaking that yes my children aren't exempt from being hurt in the world. They will be teased, they will have others be mean to them, and life will not always be easy. It about kills a mother to think that her kid she loves so much, is experiencing these hard things, but in the moment I saw a huge part my husband and I must play. A part of being a builder. Of making sure that there is no meanness, hurtfulness, or criticism coming forth from my lips and mouth out of frustration and impatience.

Every day they hear how they are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough or popular enough. They are told where they are lacking. They are told to do better, they are asked why they keep making this same mistake over and over. They are being torn apart but other heartless comments, remarks and things that kids say. They may not have much self worth left when they are finished for the day.

Do the need to come home and get the same thing? Irritated voices, frustrations at their weaknesses, impatience and reprimands?


They need to be able to come in the door of our home and be able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. They need to know they are loved by everyone in that home. They need to hear how much they are loved and how great they are doing. They need to hear appreciation for helping out and how well they treat their siblings. They need to be complimented on everything and develop a sense of worth and ability. They are not perfect because they are children, they are just learning, and they need that room to make mistakes and not be torn down. They need to feel like they can make mistakes and will be built up and become better from them. They need our love. They need to know they are amazing.

Because they are.

It's not always easy after a long tiring day, and they are doing the same annoying thing for the hundredth time after being asked not to do it... I just need to stop, take a breath, and remember I can either add my comments to the rest of the world or I can help erase the rest of the worlds comments.

I'm a little anxious to see how it went at school with Mirian... she is far better than me to reach out in love to someone who has not shown it to her. And when she comes home I can make sure I let her know how much I love her and how amazing she is.


Cortney said...

Thanks for the good reminder! We need to work on that in our house. Love you!

regulargal said...

Thanks for writing this - I so needed to read it!

I've had the same feelings watching my 5-year-old head off to school this past year - it's harder on days she does not want to go because it's not fun, or so-and-so was mean and wouldn't play with her.

What good advice about the kind of environment to create for them in our home. I really have to work on it and not let the busy-ness of life cause me to criticize more than I praise!