Thursday, September 7, 2017
Unfortunately, there is a lot of intolerance in the world. When our child informs us they or a friend has been bullied, it can be heartbreaking to hear. We must use this as well as other moments as teaching moments. As a child, a bully’s harsh words can seem like they are authorized by some great authority of the Universe. What we need to teach our children, in addition to being tolerant of others, is that in the grand scheme of life, another’s opinion of them does not matter. This can be a lesson that may take years to finally get through. I remember as a child my mom giving me the advice of “ignore them’ and “don’t pay them any mind”. While ignoring bad behavior can be helpful, we must take it a step farther. We must ongoingly teach our children they have value that no one else can put a price tag on except for them. This is hard for children to internalize because children are born with an almost instinct to please and be approved of by others. It can be a difficult fine line to walk as parents because we want to teach them to be respectful and responsible, yet at the same time teach them other people’s opinions of them don’t matter. We have to find a way to teach them to want to do their best and be satisfied with knowing their best is good enough. During a school summer program, my oldest daughter Ashley, had the opportunity to make a t shirt about herself. She drew different pictures on the front of the shirt to represent what she likes, along with a great saying on the back of the shirt. The back says “#This Is ME. Don’t like what you see, TOUGH”. It did my heart good to know the lesson that other people’s opinion of her doesn’t matter had sunk in. I’m not naive enough to think she won’t be affected in the future by harsh words of others, but knowing she has some of the “I’m good enough the way I am” mentality already that she can draw on, makes me feel like she’s now more ready for the challenges that will be placed in front of her. Very often I work with clients to improve their low self esteem, which is usually a result of caring too much of what others think of them and not recognizing their own value. My prayer & hope is that all who read this recognizes they are valuable no matter what someone else thinks and teach the children in their lives they have great value as well.