I have a 10-year-old daughter. She brings me absolute joy. And other times, she brings me an absolute messy ball of emotional frustrations. If you have 10+year old daughter you will totally get that. ; ) Emily is not your typical girly girl that you see rushing into Justice or Claire’s at the mall. From the time she was three years old, she would tell me, “Mommy, I’m not a princess pink girl, I’m a hot pink action girl!” Don’t get me wrong, she loves to get a pedicure, but is simply not interested in what is trendy or “cool.”
Emily loves soccer and all things in nature. She loves going on hikes, animals, rocks, searching for fossils, digging in the creek and playing outside with friends. She also love to watch documentaries and survival reality shows. She truly loves people from all ends of the earth, with all kinds of quirks. She has a natural appreciation of differences and I adore that about her.
What she doesn’t like… meanness. She doesn’t get why people would be mean to gain power. She is more of a “why can’t we just all be friends kind of gal.” I’m with her, but also know that rude/mean behavior is so prevalent with kids, and I think many parents even endorse this behavior. As if its okay to stomp on a few dreams to get yours. I am trying to teach my daughter that this behavior is the same as fear and fear is the result of insecurity and none of these are of characteristics of Jesus.
This school year Emily came home many times with the same sad story. She said, “….but Mom, I must be being mean or hurting Girl X”s feelings somehow for her to be so mean to me, but I cant figure out what it is!” You see, she could not fathom why someone would be mean or rude for their own personal gain. That doesn’t even make sense to her. I wish it didn’t make sense to anyone.
Slowly, she is learning that other people’s actions against her are not always caused by her, but often an internal issue that they are dealing with.
However, I am so thankful that my daughter is looking to herself rather than lashing out. However, in my mama bear mode, I naturally wish I could lash out myself. But if I did, I would be reacting out of fear and pride. Fearing that my daughter’s free spirit will be crushed by another. That my “action girl” will begin to think that her differences are not of value. But I know that my God is bigger than that and that he is allowing her to experience these trial to make her into who she is meant to be.
Emily of course does have a couple of great girlfriends who really seem to get it. And we are so thankful for them. And by no means is my girl without any blame. These days are hard for tween girls and it seems to be a typical, difficult right of passage. I know I went through it too and many of you did as well. However, I think in the age of social media and texting, and the fast pace of communication in addition to the detachment they provide, she will endure much more that I ever had to. (Which is why she has very little access.)
So my prayer this summer is that as I talk and counsel my own daughter, that others are doing to the same. We start MIDDLE SCHOOL this coming school year and I know there are many more teachable moments ahead. (YAY ;-/) I pray for a good group of gals that can appreciate each others differences and not knock them. I hope other mothers and fathers are talking to their girls about how to resolve conflict between friends and that friendship is worth the work. And above all, I hope we teach our kids to be compassionate and kind. To think beyond themselves and to regard empathy and compassion as valuable.
I will do my best to guide her, but ultimately she does not belong to me. She is God’s kid and I know I can trust him to carry her through these difficult days. For now, summer is a breath of fresh air and she and I are enjoying the break from the drama. Happy Summer break Moms! : )