My daughter Alli has the softest heart. She is turning out to be the most precious girl. She feels everyone’s pain as her own and while this is a beautiful thing in her ability to empathize and be a gracious soul, it is heartbreaking for her on a daily basis. My mother’s heart breaks over and over as i watch her grow into the woman of God’s design.
At school there are several girls who are always making fun of other girls, and daily make them cry. Alli will play our nightly “hi-low” game at dinner and her low for the day is how one of these mean girls made a classmate cry or hurt their feelings. It didn’t happen to her, but it felt as real to her as though it did.
We have a saying in our house, a goofy one I made up after some terribly hurtful things began to occur in class one year to Alli. I told her we have choices in life, as hard as it is to do, and need to decide if we are going to walk through life as a sponge or a duck. Did she want to absorb all the mean things said and done to her and fill her insides up with the negative and yucky feelings, and absorb all the pain and hurt these mean girls were offering… or did she want to let it roll off her back like a duck, keeping her insides clean and full of love and happiness? The choice, as hard as it is to do, really is there. The mean and hurtful things will aways come in life, but what we do with them is our choice. So after we talk out something, cry over it if need be, we wipe the tears and then look at each other and say… so whatcha gonna do with it? Be a duck or a sponge?
Alli always chooses to be a duck. This week, she saw a girl in her class get picked on by several mean girls… (can i just say how sick i am of mean girls?) she turned to her friend who was wiping away tears and told her to not let those girls get to her. She needed to be a duck not a sponge. She told her all about sponges and ducks and loved on her friend. I am so proud of her.
Today Alli called me after school in tears. She told me she was trying hard to be a duck, but she thought she was acting a bit like a sponge. She needed to talk to her mom to remember how to be a duck. She got her hair cut over the weekend and it is a cute funky cut. It suits her personality. But there are mean kids who like to make fun of change and so even though many said they loved it, it was the couple of negatives that stayed with her, not the positives. So we walked through the same conversation she already knew and had shared with her friend. She needed support to become a better duck. I had to remind her that it’s okay to forget and ask for help remembering. I have to do it too. And I reminded her that the best person to ask to help her remember when she is not at home, is Jesus, because he’s who gives us our feathers and helps us become “negative” proof, and helps roll the yucky stuff in life off of us and keep him inside.
Lately we have been taking this one step further. I shared with her the truth that those people who like to hurt others, usually, are hurting themselves. When a sponge is full of the yucky things, each time they get squeezed they leak out that same yucky stuff. It spills out of them and onto others. Each time someone is mean, remember, that person is feeling yucky too, and probably there is someone hurting them a lot in their life too. We agreed that the best thing to do when mean people hurt us is to pray for them. It’s hard to do! But it’s possible that no one prays for them, and they could use some love in their lives.
It may take a lifetime to learn, but she is getting the message loud and clear. I am so proud that she is already sharing what truly is a faith-like love with her friends.