Aside from the obvious tragedies that life can bring, the one thing I so wish I could protect my sweet girl from is...mean girls.
I think we can all agree that girls can be really mean. It starts at a young age. The little girls in our subdivision are always shouting, "I'm telling on you!" for some reason or other. They push each other around and they're so demeaning. I've even found myself in the presence of toddler girls who are kind of snotty. A two year old in the church nursery gave my sweet girl a dirty look a few weeks ago and I was floored!
As women, we must work hard to keep a tight grip on our thoughts, for our thoughts effect our facial expressions and thusly, our words and actions. I know that I can't protect her from the heartache of mean girls; I guess it's just a fact of life. But what I can do is work to keep her from becoming a mean girl.
My earliest memory of a mean girl was in elementary school. There was a girl who I think was in special ed that I would try to be nice to but she would slap me at recess. Additionally, we lived in a large neighborhood with lots of kids and lots of opportunities for hurt feelings. Little girls are full of drama, and I remember being right in the middle of it. I was always yelling in defense of someone else but wasn't necessarily the object of meanness.
In middle school, we had moved to a new state and there were these two girls who were very popular. Everyone worshipped them because girls with fake tans who smoked behind the gym were apparently fantastic. My first week at this new school, all of my books fell out of my locker onto my head, and they never let me live it down. They tormented me and called me "big ugly". I was neither ugly or big, but I maintain the fact that my low self-esteem came directly from the first week of the second semester of 8th grade. Those girls were mean.
Things seemed to level out through most of high school. I was pretty good at laying low. In college, I made lots of friends and things were different. No one made fun of me and people actually wanted to be my friend. I had several really close friends but life has taken us in different directions. Thankfully, having children has brought some of us closer together as we've bonded over sleepless nights and stretch marks. I had this one friend in particular that I thought would stick with me through it all. Out of nowhere she retracted her invitation for me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding and basically stopped talking to me altogether. It took me almost 4 years to get over that. It made me hesitant to grow close in new friendships. I have forgiven her but I'm not sure what I would do or how I would feel if she wanted to talk to me at this point in our lives. We had been inseperable for about 5 years and then it was gone. When something like that happens, you start to question everything about yourself. I felt so unworthy of friendship after that. She left a huge hole in my heart for a long time.
Then there was the job I had when we were newlyweds. I started this job right after our honeymoon. My coworkers were other seminary wives. They were so cruel. They wouldn't talk to me and loved having little inside jokes that they rubbed in my face. The joke was on them because I didn't really care; I was just happy to have a good job. Long story short, they led me to believe that the boss didn't like me and they manipulated me into believing I was a bad employee. One of them fired me. It was only after the fact that I learned the boss liked me and they had been lying. It hurt so bad because like me, their husbands were depending on their income as they studied for their degrees. I could not understand why they had done the opposite of what the Bible we all believed taught us to do. They gave no reason based upon job performance, just that I didn't "fit".
By far, the worst experience I had was with my last job in Atlanta. Only now, 2 1/2 years later, can I speak of it without my blood pressure going haywire. I worked hard and put up with a lot for 15 months to find that the boss' wife/acting office manager was searching for someone to replace me. Once again, I didn't "fit". Worst of all, the girl who worked most closely with me, another follower of Christ, was so rude to me and took the side of the business owners. I will even go so far as to say that she was whispering things in their ear that were not true. The boss' wife wrote in the unemployment report that I had stolen, lied, and a host of other negative things that were untrue. I was shocked. I still feel nervous that people in the same social circles think that I'm a bad person. I expect the type of people I worked for to do sleazy things like that, but the coworker who is supposed to be on my team really let me down. I know for a fact that I was an upstanding employee because when we had my unemployment hearing, my former boss was under oath and could not speak ill of me.
Mean people suck. I want to teach my girl to be kind, gentle, and clothed in righteousness. I also want her to know how to stand up for what's right, even if it can cost her. People are going to hurt her feelings, but I want her to be strong enough to move on and not let it get her down for long. Do you have any experiences to share or tips on raising a confident daughter?