I shouldn't really be writing this post. For the record, I haven't successfully "raised" any girls just yet. My oldest is only a 6th grader, the other girls are in 3rd grade and 3 years old. I have SO much to learn. Every time I think I've got one of them figured out, life changes and we have to keep working towards navigating this very beautiful and often tough world. If I wait to write until I "know" what I'm doing, I'll be dead, so here's my 2 cents worth of thinking.
Last night one of the girls came home and I just knew something was bothering her. Of course, she didn't say right away. Every night at dinner, we do Highs and Lows. Have I already written about this?!?! Sorry if I'm just repeating myself. Anywho, we all go around the table while we eat and tell what was our "high," or good stuff from the day and our "low," or the not so good. If you aren't doing this already, try it tonight! You will be SO glad you did!
It was during her "low" that she told us about how she'd had this best friend all year and then a new girl showed up and was trying to "steal" her friend. She apparently wasn't being one bit sweet about it either. "So and so is sitting with ME today at social studies" the other girl had said, in what she thought was a mean and nasty way.
We went on eating and then Mike and I sent the two littles upstairs and had a heart to heart with the two "big" girls. Something to the tune of....
"I am so thankful that you girls both share with us your highs and lows. We love your highs and they are so important to celebrate, but we really really really need to hear your lows too. It is so important to let all of those negative feelings out. You can't let that stuff stay bottled up on the inside. It will make you so angry and bitter if you don't let it out.
I wish I could say that it's going to go away and that it will be better someday, but the reality is, it isn't. Not on this side of Heaven. We are all born sinners. We all struggle with greed and jealousy and anger and all kinds of other struggles. Sometimes people will be blatantly cruel and other times we get our feelings hurt when people aren't even trying to hurt them.
When I picked up Ella from preschool today, someone was in trouble for pulling hair. Carly, you sometimes get frustrated when your friends venture off to play with other people and then you feel left out. Lilly, you feel it too. Even as a grown up, and definitely when I was both of your ages, I've felt it. It hurts. It makes you feel so sad and so yucky, angry even. We all hate being someone else's punching bug. We all hate it when we feel left out. I understand exactly what you're both going through, and I am so thankful that you are willing to share with us. NEVER stop sharing with us.
You know that sometime people spew out what they are feeling on the inside. Chances are, someone else is being mean to that girl and she's taking it out on you. I noticed that when you came home, you didn't want to include your sister when you went outside to play with your friends. When you hated sitting alone at social studies, think about how that felt. That's exactly how you made your sister feel. Maybe you weren't trying to be mean. Maybe you just wanted to have all of your friends to yourself. That's exactly what the girl at school wanted. But the Bible says, "We should think of others better than ourselves." Not that they ARE better than us, but that we should think of others before ourselves. Leaving someone out is not thinking of them as better than you. That's putting your own wants first. That's not the kind of person that you want to be.
The Bible also says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." That's one of my favorite verses. When someone is mean to us, our sinful nature wants to be mean right back. God says to NOT repay evil for evil. When I feel down, I often reach out and do a good deed or say something kind to build someone else up. It fills their bucket and mine too. We have no control over other people's words and actions, but we can choose to be a light in the world, even when it feels dark to us. We turn on the light with love and kindness. We are only accountable for our own actions. We can choose to forgive that person and then we can move on and fill someone else up."
We all hugged. I always add my own humor to get everyone laughing. So does Mike. I could see the weight lifting off of her. She hopped up and was able to go on about her night. Will she be kinder to her sister today? Maybe. Maybe not. Will the other girl at school be kinder today? Maybe. Maybe not. As the momma, I cannot control them or their peers. I can and do say, "If you don't want to include your sister, then you can head right on up to your room." But I cannot change their hearts. I can point them to their own sin and hopefully help them change their own ways, but it doesn't happen over night. I can't make the world perfect for them, but I can tell them how I find Joy and Peace. Go and make the light! The main thing that I want to give them is a safe place to vent out all of their frustrations. To let them know that we care and love them no matter what. Even when THEY are being the unkind one.
Try it! Tonight! Highs and Lows. Ask your girls (and Boys!) about their day. Listen. Empathize. Say, "I know. Me, too." Hug. Laugh. Listen. Redirect. Help your babies of all sizes find Joy in the Chaos of this world!