"Train the young in the way they should go;
even when old, they will not swerve from it."
(Proverbs 22:6, NAB)
Were you bullied as a child? I was. I don't want to touch personally on my experiences right now (that will come at a later date, I promise), but I want to talk about my experience as a mom on the flip side (the "mom side") of the coin.
Bebe is a beautiful child. Not just aesthetically beautiful, but her soul is beautiful. She has such a bright spirit, and the thing that we love most about her is how non-judgmental she is. She discriminates against no one. She wants to play with everyone and be friends with everyone. She has never spoken a negative word against another child. It's just not in her to do so.
Unfortunately, we're all quite aware that not all children are this way. I wish they were, because it would make life so much easier. But that's not how it is. Instead, she endures the criticism of others, the ostracism due to being friends with so-and-so, and the rejection from those children who DO choose to be selective about their friends and who they play with.
Her spirit is weakening... not in a way that she's changing who she is, but the smile on her face is fading faster and faster. Her peers are wearing her down. This morning she bounded into the before-school program to share the Moshi Monster figures she got as a birthday present, including one of the ultra-rare ones. She was SO EXCITED to show her friends, but when she whipped out the bag, she misspoke the name of the ultra-rare character, and instantly another child corrected her rudely. I could see her crumple inside. You know, just in that moment I could see her excitement turn off. It made me want to cry. It made me want to go over and
scream at reprimand the child. It is so hard for me to control my "bleeding heart" when I experience my child being treated like I was as a child. Instead, I called her over, and told her she did not have to be treated that way. I asked her to please speak up for herself, even with a simple, "Sorry, I made a mistake--don't you ever make mistakes??"
On my way to work, I finished up the Rosary we started praying on our way to morning care. I prayed it with all of my heart, asking God to please watch over her and help her continue to be who she is. To guide D and I in raising her to know that who she is is a very valuable person. And to enable the other children to see how their words and actions hurt others.
I'm not a perfect mom by any means, but if there's one thing I want to get right, it's that Bebe grows up knowing that she is special (but not more special than anyone else!), she is loved, and that she is good.