Shey B

Silent Vows

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BULLY.  Remember this word.

“Do you ever wish you were a bird so you could just fly away?”

I said asked my mother that when I was in junior high.  I was being bullied by some girls at school, which made me never want to go.  I would tell my mom I was sick at least twice a week.  She caught on pretty quick.  My mom was fiercely protective of me, so therefore the bullying stopped shortly after she called the school.  Hell hath no fury like a mother.  I also took her advice and smiled at those girls every day.  It drove them insane.  :)

 

Fast forward 17 years later.  I’m a mother of an almost 10 year old and a 5 year old.  When my children were born I always made a silent vow to protect them at all costs.  I made a vow to teach them what they’d need to know, what they’d want to know.  I can’t protect them from everything, nor can I teach them everything since I don’t know everything.  But I can teach them what I do know, and protect them when I can.  One thing I soon realized, however, is that I can’t always be there.  I can’t protect them when I’m not around.  When they’re at school.  I can’t protect them.  But I can teach them how to protect themselves as best as they can.

I’ve been doing a lot of teaching lately to my girls about friendship.  Mostly with my oldest.  You see, Angelina is learning what true friends are and what true friends aren’t.  Do you know how hard it is to have talks like this with a 10 year old?  Trying to explain to her that a real friend wouldn’t say those things about her, a true friend wouldn’t act like that or treat her like that.  She can’t quite grasp the trueness of my words quite yet.  She asked me to forgive her friend the other day.  That statement then made it easy for me to explain to her everything I wanted her to know.  “It’s not my place to forgive your friend, Angelina.  I see how she treats you honey.  She treats you like this a lot.  It’s your choice whether or not you forgive her.”  I watched as her eyes glazed over while she truly thought about my words.  As a parent there are times when we have to let the reins out a little more.  This was one of those times.

A couple of weeks ago my girls and I were in the car.  Angelina was telling me about her day, as per usual.  But what stuck out was when she began telling me about a new friend of hers that’s been repeatedly bullied since she arrived at their school a couple of months ago.  2 months.  And the only person that has made her feel welcome is my daughter.  This was confirmed by her friend’s mother who hugged me and thanked me for raising such a sweet child.  This touched me because I know I must be doing something right.  As Angelina’s story progresses, I’m shaking my head and telling her how terrible it is that her friend is treated this way.  Then Angelina says I’m lucky that I’m my age because I don’t have to be bullied.  It was then that I pulled the car over and decided to let her in on a little adult secret.  “Actually, Angelina, that’s not true.  Adults bully other adults all the time.  Even your mom has been bullied.”  Her mouth promptly dropped open and she replied, “No way mom.  So you’re saying that grown ups are mean to others to?  And some of them have been mean to you?  But they’re grown ups!”  This made me laugh.  I remember being a kid and thinking that grown ups had it made.  Obviously now I laugh at my own thought on being an adult, because different ages and different stages present different and sometimes bigger issues the older we get.

As I continued to drive that day, I just kept thinking about the conversation Angelina and I had.  Then she came home crying one day because she’d been bullied and yelled at by her “best friend”.  Refer to the conversation I had with her a couple of paragraphs ago.  I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot lately, because it’s heartbreaking to see the aftermath of being treated like dirt.  I did call her “best friend’s” mother to inform her of what was going on, but that’s as much as I could do.  The rest is up to Angelina.  But what I really started thinking about was how we effect our children.  We are their examples!  If it’s wrong for children to bully their peers or others, then why would it be ok to do just that as an adult?  IT’S NOT!  In fact, I see so many adults behaving worse than children.  Which is truly ridiculous!  Name calling, bashing, slandering, bad mouthing, reputation burning, pushing.  Those are all forms of bullying.  So STOP DOING IT!  NO ONE deserves to be on the receiving end of any of that.  NO ONE.  There is no confrontation, there is no “working it out”, there is no communication!  I’m the first to admit that I treat confrontation with a snarl, but just because I hate it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done!  If someone has an issues with someone else, go directly to that person!  Don’t slander their name all over school grounds, don’t slam them on the internet!  WORK. IT. OUT.  At least…. that’s what my parents taught me.

When I had my girls I made silent vows to them.  I vowed to teach them what a good friend should be like.  I vowed to guide and help them on their journey through life.  I vowed to show them how to have compassion for others.  I vowed to try my best as a parent.  I am not perfect, nor have I vowed that I’d ever be.  What an impossible thing to say or promise.  But I do the best I can.  Mike and I have perfected one thing.  As soon as those girls walk into our home, they know they’re loved.  Love.  It’s shown and taught through us.  We are the ultimate example {besides Christ} to their eyes in this act.  If we do only one thing right, we got Love right.  Our girls know we love them unconditionally, and it’s not something we have to say all the time.  Love is shown as well.  If we show them love, they’ll go out in the world and show kindness to others.  Maybe not always… but if done right, they’ll try their best.

Every night, while I give nightly hugs and kisses, I make silent vows to my girls.

7 Comments

  1. Love this, such a beautiful heartfelt post! You’re a good mama friend!!

  2. I love this Shay, and you.

  3. My oldest starts school this fall and I am terrified.

    I was bullied at lot in school and no one EVER stood up for me. And now with ‘bullying’ being today’s buzz word, I worry about what we are all going to be dealing with with school-aged kids.

    I love that your daughter befriended the new girl. And I love your approach to the whole thing. I don’t imagine it’s an easy stance to take.

    • I feel like the more prepared we are the better off we are.
      I know my girls school really talks openly about bullying with their students. They are hugely against it so they’re always on the look out for it. :)
      Thanks for the comment Rebecca!!

  4. Being a parent to a disabled child I am so worried about when it happens. I say when because it is going to happen. When it does I hope there are enough sensitive kids in his circle to stick up for him. It only takes one brave kid to make a dynamic change. I hope I can raise all three of my kids to be that energetic, dynamic, thoutful friend.

  5. Thanks for writing this. This were the words of hope and kindness I needed to hear. Specially today, after reading about what happened to this poor girl Amanda Todd. You are so right about something: LOVE is the answer. It all starts at home. LOVE unconditionally.

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