Monday, September 29, 2008

Sticks and Stones

I remember hearing those words.   
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.""

Boy, what a crock!    I mean, if anything, words (as we know now) hurt more than anything.  Those statements you heard when you were little, or maybe even as a young adult, those attacks, or lies, or just mean things said...they stay with you.   And they echo easily.   And even now, we probably try to make sure that we never hear them again.  Either by performing well enough.  Or seeking the approval of others.   Whatever it is, we want to make sure we don't hear the voices of rejection.

My daughter is 4.   She heard today, for the first time, "I'm not your friend anymore."   I can't believe that it is already that time.   For there to be drama among her friends.   For there to be hurtful words spoken.   For there to be rejection just waiting to set in.

At first it made me mad.   Mad at the one who said it.  Mad at kids who think that's ok to say.   Mad at preschool for letting it happen (because you know, anything that happens there is their fault, right??!!)   Just kidding.   But mainly, just sad.  Sad for her little heart already experiencing what I long for her to never know.    Sad that she has to now fight off these cruel words that would seek to tear her down.   Or tell her that she isn't wanted.   Or isn't good enough.   Or cool enough.   Or whatever.

But as much as I would love for my children to never have to experience hurt or pain, I know that we live in a world where there is pain.   There is rejection.   There is suffering.    Even in a preschool classroom.

I hugged her tight.   And told her that no matter what anyone says, or how she feels that there is One who will never tell her that.    He thinks that she is the coolest friend anyone could ever have.  And He ALWAYS wants to be with her.    I said, "Do you know who that is?"  She kind of looked up at me with the "I know, Mom." look, as I said, "Jesus."    I know that it's the typical encouraging mom answer, but it's true.   And I know that if I had known that in 6th grade when my best friend said that to me, in front of all my other friends, I would have felt a little bit better.     I'm glad I know how true it is now.   I'm glad that I can tell the next generation.

I know that we each have our own stories of overcoming rejection and hurt.  Do you remember having those words spoken to you?   How old were you?    I'm always intrigued with how easy it is to remember the hurtful words, and how hard it is to believe the truth of who we are.   We each have to fight to believe that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (psalm 139:14) every day of our lives.  But choose to believe it!!   


Kari said...

Aw, poor River.

River, like her mother, will never be a wallflower, but what you are saying reminds me of this song:

Even the Wallflowers by Carolyn Arends

From the moment you arrived here I've been utterly amazed
Astonished at your level of perfection
So it breaks my heart in pieces to imagine all the ways
You'll get hurt in spite of my protection
'Cause someday I'll have to send you like a soldier off to school
And the lesson you will learn there is that kids can be so cruel
So however well they like you and whatever grade you get
Promise me baby that you won't forget

Even the wallflowers do survive - they can thrive
Even in the shadows
And there is a power in finding out for yourself
Rain or shine, whichever way it goes
Even the wallflowers grow

I hope they choose you early when the captains pick their teams
And I pray that they invite you to their dances
I hope it doesn't hurt too much the times you skin your knees
And that your heart endures its first romances
I cannot imagine anyone not loving you
But everybody feels alone at least a time or two
And I wish that I could spare you any heartache down the road
But maybe then baby you never would know

Even the wallflowers do survive - they can thrive
Even in the shadows
And there is a power in finding out for yourself
Rain or shine, whichever way it goes
Even the wallflowers

Grow in soil that's watered by
Every single tear they cry
Believe me baby, you will live
And someday you will tell your kid

Even the wallflowers do survive - they can thrive
Even in the shadows
And there is a power in finding out for yourself
Rain or shine, whichever way it goes
Even the wallflowers grow

Caroline said...

I want to hug you both - but River might get freaked out considering she doesn't know me from Eve. Anywho, words do hurt and sometimes I think I'd prefer the sticks and stones. You told her truth and those are the words that never hurt (unless you're being convicted, but it hurts in a good way). Anyway, you know what I mean. You're doing a great job!

Homestic Affairs said...

Poor thing. I was shunned in 1st grade by two girls for not wearing designer clothing. My JC Penny outfit wasn't good enough I guess. I was so hurt I asked to talk to the school psychologist!!! It was the biggest trauma in my life at the time.

I'm sure the school psychologist had kids with worst traumas! She told my mom that I had a very mature view of friendships that most kids don't develop until a lot later. And some never do.

So it's a blessing that she views friendships and people as valuable.

My son started preschool 2 weeks ago and is learning that some kids don't like someone to just come up and hold their hands or gently stroke their cheeks. So, he's feeling rejection, but at the same time learning that everyone has personal space that he needs to respect. Even if he's just being a sweet little boy!

Sara said...

you are an awesome mom...river will learn and grow from sad times like this...because you are pointing her to Jesus