I was going to post a picture today of my daughter with her 3rd place ribbon from Field Day. But that will have to wait. Because I think I have an even bigger reason to be proud of her.
When we started this school year, I was a little concerned about the grouping of girls in Sarah’s class this year. It seemed like she was put in a class with an entire group of girls who have kind of banded together over the last year or two. I could definitely see this group becoming the “IT group” once they hit the middle and upper school years. There’s something about how they try to act so much older than they are. But I never said a word to her about it. I certainly didn’t want to put any ideas in her head if there was really nothing to be concerned about.
We went through most of the year with my husband and I seeing little things going on like Sarah usually eating lunch by herself and things like that. But Sarah never said a word about it so I thought that maybe she didn’t notice. Maybe that’s how she wanted things.
Then, as I felt prompted because of a Bible study that I was doing in January, I asked her if she had encountered any one that she would think of as a “mean girl.” She immediately said yes. But, I think she didn’t want to gossip, so she wouldn’t name any names… but told me all the girls in her class that it wasn’t.
“There are three,” she said. “And it’s not Cindy, Ali or Debbie. So that gives you an idea.” (There are only 7 girls in the class and I changed the names.) It was cute the way she did it and I had to stifle a giggle.
As we have continued through this second half of the school year, the situation has just continued. She even said one day recently, “I wish I was in a different class.” Because truth be told, even though Cindy, Ali and Debbie aren’t what she would term as mean, they certainly are not being her friends. Nor are they being very inclusive of her.
And to be honest…. I feel it on the mom side as well. It’s not that these moms are mean, necessarily, but they are a group that I just feel unwelcome around.
So as I have thought about it over the last couple of days, I took hold of an opportunity I had the other night to tell Sarah how proud I was of how she has handled it this year.
We were talking one evening after I got home from work and the subject of friends came up in a completely different context. I was encouraging her to make sure she was inclusive of everyone in a particular circumstance. She then began to talk about how she has felt excluded most of the year in her class and she actually teared up a bit. Clearly this had affected her more than I had realized.
But do you know what she has done all year? She has gone into that classroom with her head held high and not let it stop her. She continues to talk to these girls and show kindness to them. There has not been one bad thing that she has come home and said about them. There has been no report of her lashing out at them. She just continues on in kindness, knowing that she has friends in other classes.
I was able to tell her that night that I admired how she has shown grace to those who have hurt her this year. She has acted like the secure child of God that she is. And as I told her, I wish I acted like that more often.
I also took hold of the teaching opportunity and pointed out what a blessing it was to learn how it feels to be excluded so that we know not to do it to other people. She agreed.
So as I sit here, I wonder what causes these other moms, some of whom I know have been in the classroom quite a bit, to not notice the one girl that their daughters leave out of everything. I know there are a lot of personalities and dynamics that I can’t go into here, but I have to wonder, do they not encourage inclusiveness to their daughters? Does my own daughter truly have any idea what an example she has been to me this year?
I told her that this kind of stuff doesn’t go away as you get older and that I feel excluded a lot. But I also told her that I believe God had granted her the grace to deal with the situation and that I admired the way she has shown grace to those around her.
Is there something that you admire about your own daughter or son? Have you looked for something to admire in them? Have you told them? If not, find a way to do that today.