My grandson face-timed yesterday morning just before he left for his 2-year-old pre-k class. With his backpack on and pencil in hand, he began to show me how to use an eraser. The pencil, held tightly between his fingers, went round and round in circle motions. He continued as he turned the pencil upside down and quickly rubbed the eraser across the page. The circles were gone. His eraser worked.
My thoughts can’t help but go back in time of my early childhood memories. The options of early childhood education never existed. My first years of schooling began in the first grade. As harsh as it was leaving my mother’s side and stepping up into that huge yellow bus each day, I managed. But what I didn’t manage well was not being prepared for the cruel and mean-spirited treatment of other children I had to be with all day long.
Meanness carries a lot of power.
“Oh, how I wish I could have taken a pencil and just erased all the meanness away.”
But I couldn’t …and if I did, what would that have accomplished?
Yes, I was a victim of childhood bullying. I was made fun of not only of my outward appearance but also of my spiritual upbringing. As a child, I grew up with a realness of the words in the Holy Bible…Do unto others as you would have others do unto you; and love thy neighbor as thyself. What child really completely understands the true meaning of these verses? Me. That’s who. The way I was being treated was not the way I treated others nor was it the way I wanted to be treated.
A little kindness goes a long way but the sad thing is that a little cruelty goes further.
“Being bullied or ridiculed as a child is not a harmless rite of passage. It can cause a shadow over adulthood.”
Like most children, I survived the meanness of others. I brushed it off the best I could and grew up realizing who I didn’t want to become. Even as an adult, I have to admit I… faced the same treatment. Again, I brushed it off.
Why are some people mean-spirited?
I’m sure we all have our own answers to this question but I guess the real question should be…
“What can we do about it?”
Although I brushed it off, I still have some insecurities, even as an adult. If we could only take an eraser and remove all the cruelness in the world. But it doesn’t work that way…does it? So, what do we do? First, if you’ve done no wrong, then accept and know it’s not your fault. Realize that some people are just mean. No matter what we do. No Matter what we say. People will be mean. Second, remember that we can control our responses. Kindness is the best cure. Third, see beyond the meanness. Have compassion for someone who obviously needs help. Fourth, pray for them. And Fifth…Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
Parents, I know your little ones will face meanness. They will not be immune to it nor can they overlook it. Please give them the skills to be kind through your example. Ask them questions. Talk with them. Let them know you want to help. Listen! Please show them there is another way. Teach your children to pray for their enemies. Teach them to rise above the hurt and regain the true power through God’s love.
God can erase all hurt.
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