Teaching Our Daughters to be Includers

This past week I read a truly amazing post. One of those posts that you say to yourself, “Oh that is what I am.” This past year has been a struggle in my home with mean girls and sometimes mean boys. And I tried so hard to make my kiddo see she can’t control others, but she can control her reaction to them.

But I can easily repeat this line:

“The details are my daughter’s to share someday.  When my daughter — your daughter — is looking back on her childhood, she will tell her own story and it’ll be one of how we walked alongside our girls. How we empowered them.”

-Lisa McCrohan 

And that is me following my own best advice. Instead of focusing on the ins and outs of others behaviors I have spent the last year trying to lift her up, empowering her and trying hard to walk along side her in positivity and kindness.

I sat back and thought about where this all came from for me? I am an includer as well. I hate seeing others left out. I have no great bullying story. I didn’t have the lunch table leave outs. Or the purposeful unkindness. Sure I had times when others weren’t nice to me and would say or do other unkind things. But never to the extent that I felt bullied.

But what I did always do was set myself up to make that sort of behavior unacceptable. In school if my friends treated others that way I had no problem distancing myself from them. If a friend treated me that way I never struggled walking away. It was pretty black and white for me.

My daughters and students often ask me, “were you popular in school ?” My answer is always “I don’t know.” I truly see myself/saw myself as friends with all others. The mean girls didn’t bother me because they weren’t a part of my world. But I can tell you when they were mean to others the people they hurt were a part of my world. I invited them and accepted them for who they are. I have raised my girls to be the same.

I parent/teach similarly. I tolerate no meanness and unkindness. I have taught them to be inclusive and honest. Since they were little I taught them the meanest kids need the most love. It worked beautifully when they were small and young and things were easier. But now they are getting older and the meanness and unkindness is ramped up. It is harder to love unlovable behavior.

But I try so hard to remind them that returning the unkindness creates a circle of unkindness and cruelty. That if we respond in a honest but loving way to both our self and the offender it breaks the cycle. It plants a seed. The decision that we get to make then is do we sit around and watch it grow or just move on with knowing we showed a kindness that wasn’t shown to us.

But when you are young that is so hard. But that is the ugly part. If one responds to it doling the same treatment received nothing changes. Includers aren’t created. The best I can do as a mother and teacher is remind them the day will come when it will hurt less and they will change someone. Someone will decide to be kinder because they showed them kindness when they didn’t deserve it. More than anything I want my daughters and students to choose to be amazing.

“Brave”

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up

Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody’s been there,
Everybody’s been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear
And done some disappearing,
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, just stop holding your tongue

Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

And since your history of silence
Won’t do you any good,
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don’t you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
With what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

 

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