Life-Events tend to do that to a person, whether they are good ones or bad ones.
One of the things I've thought long & hard about is what my parenting style would have been like with Abigail. I also think a lot about it when I interact with my 2 beautiful, wonderful, adorable, strong, energetic nieces. So much of what they do (good, silly or naughty) makes me think about how I would respond if I was their parent.
Something that weighs heavily on my heart is the idea of "bullying." I see it all over the news, the internet, etc. I see the effects it has on children & how horrible it can be.
Something has to be done.
Yet, I feel like I have a very different perspective than most. I agree with the masses that bullying should have consequences, but I also feel like there's a more powerful solution.
If our children were raised with a true sense of self, what someone else had to say would not matter so much. I'm not saying it wouldn't hurt their feelings, but it would not define them.
I realize by saying that, I've probably stirred up some emotions...good, bad & ugly ones. But that's part of being a parent, taking a long hard look at how we've been raising our children, how they are growing & what we need to change to help them.
I say all this because I remember vividly my first & my second encounter with bullies. People who tried to tell me I wasn't good enough, they didn't want to be my friends, & even one who threatened to hurt me. I still don't know why they wanted to hurt me, as far as I know - they just didn't like me. & you know what, it hurt, but it didn't define me & it didn't stop me from making other friends.
I understand that today's children face many more challenges & extreme situations, but for the majority of children...if they were raised to know who they are & that their importance is not based on their popularity or what other people think/say about them, their lives would be drastically different. Becoming a victim is a choice. Give your child enough right information so they can combat the emotional toll that life takes.
I know because I lived it. I'm not saying it didn't hurt my feelings, but that was temporary. I simply went about my life, choosing to ignore those people (not hate them), & find my friends because I knew who I was.
That's how I want to raise my kids. I want them to know they are strong & beautiful regardless of other people's opinions. They don't get their value from society. Feel free to look at others & take away things you like - character traits, styles, hair, makeup, abilities, etc - and apply them to your life, but know that you don't need to make yourself into anyone else. Confidence is a decision, not a character trait. Choose to be confident, choose to stand up & be who your are. It's okay to be silly, it's okay to be different, it's okay to not have all the answers. Keep learning. It's okay to fail at something & get embarrassed, but being embarrassed only lasts as long as you let it. Laugh it off & tackle life again. What's the worst that could happen - people might laugh, but what's the best that could happen - you might succeed! Feeling scared isn't a deciding factor, right or wrong is the deciding factor.
Don't let society put it's demands on you. It's all just their opinion anyways. Don't take offense every time someone says something mean. Their words do not make or break your life.
I'll say it over & over no matter how cliche it might sound. Your true self is found in our Savior... you, me, our children, every single human being. He will keep you through all of life's storms & through middle school for that matter.
His Words are the ones to base your life off of. His Words will never change, they are life & truth.