A friend of mine posted on
Aaaw. I was that little girl with no one to sit with at lunch, the girl who was told to, "Make like a tree and leave" and heard everyone else at the table laugh as I walked away, crushed, humiliated and so alone. (Do you know that girl's name pops up on facebook under "people I may know" once in a while and I still, to this day, get sick to my stomach?)
Now, I am the mother of 6 who knows that her kids have experienced or will experience the mean things. I sit on the sidelines hoping I have built them up enough to not internalize the mean words. I hug them afterward wishing I could wash that pain away. The Husband and I try to advocate for their safety when the bullies go over the line. It's just so...mean.
Someday I'll be living in a big old city and all you're ever gonna be is mean. Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me and all you're ever gonna be is mean. Why you gotta be so mean?
In college, a friend of mine had a poster with fancy cars parked in front of a mansion. The caption read, "Living well is the best revenge."
I try not to teach my kids that revenge is a good option. In fact when my oldest was being bullied in 5th or 6th grade I tried to encourage him to think about what might be going on in his tormentor's life to make him behave as he did. I'm not sure my boy felt loved or supported with those words. While I believe in teaching empathy and compassion, I think I neglected to show him strong enough support in that horrid time. Regrets, I have a few...
So, now I focus on the future with all of my kids. Life will bring people like this into our lives and we get to choose how to respond. We can stand up for ourselves without being vengeful. We can remember that mean words do not have to define us. We can hopefully internalize that we are loved and cherished and uniquely and wonderfully made by God.
Someday we will have opportunities to choose to be kind. We can choose to be judgmental or accepting. We can choose to live a life filled with joy or bitterness. We may taste the bitter but we don't have to make a meal of it. Most of all...we do not have to be mean.