Thumper’s father was correct. If you cannot say something nice, you really shouldn’t say anything at all.
But, contrary to what I may have thought– life is not a Disney movie. Whether we are talking about the manners of adorable woodland creatures or the perfect hair of Rapunzel (who by the way had never had a trim in her life– think about that for a second–) LIFE just does not go that way.
And people are mean. They say rude things. Awkward things. Sometimes they feel awkward and because silence frightens them they say something– anything at all to fill the silence– and it comes out… and more than just being unhelpful, it’s plain mean.
With children, we are always trying to build them up. It is a quite a push and pull of building them up in love, helping them to see how wonderfully they were created and yet allowing them the benefit of humility. It’s quite a difficult dance, teaching them to love God and see how He loves them– and yet not raise little egocentric humans. Sometimes the last thing I need and want is to have the wrong people making deposits that might define their self-worth later on.
This week it was some random lady at the mall, she was helping us with something and in a moment of silence (which wasn’t all that awkward until she made it so–) looked down at my precious 5 year old and said, “WOW. You have some really big feet!”
Lucy and I both had our jaw dropping moment and then I tried to politely correct her by pointing out to Lucy that her feet were perfectly made for her body. But what I wanted to do? Picture a Mama Jaguar verbally pouncing on this errant woman who cluelessly just interjected something on my child that she’s NEVER before questioned about herself. Oh, I really wanted to put her in her place.
But the fact was and remains today, that my little Lu was still watching me to see how I would respond. And unfortunately, that will not be the last time someone “pins” something on her that doesn’t belong… I want her to have the peace of heart to let it slide right off.
More than that even, I pray she is so aware of who she really is with each coming day. Not that her skin is thick, but that her heart is gracious. Gracious with herself. Gracious with others who make mistakes. Grace all around.
People will be human and make bad choices, and the sad fact is sometimes they will affect our children. Even something little like that– it does leave a mark, though hopefully a small one. Because she remembers– she made mention of the size of her feet a few days later. And my heart squeezed when she did– because most of us carry around things that people pinned on us early on, and true or not– sometimes they stick around longer than they should. And she is not even close to middle school yet. Talk about things that make me nauseated.
But in the midst of it all– I know my role in this. Keep praying for her little heart. Keep pouring on the words of truth. Keep our home an environment of love and kind words as much as possible– which isn’t always easy with two sisters.
And every chance I have, I will fill her heart with words that matter. I will say to her how marvelously she was created.
And I thank God that He sifts through our shortcomings and makes beautiful things.