Someone said something to Mya this week about an outfit she wore, and it devastated her. She ran off the bus and across the street, threw her anxious body on my stomach, rested her head in the small space between my belly and boobs, and said, "Mom, I look weird!" I picked up her head and leveled it with mine and asked her to tell me what happened. She did, and as she spoke, I thought, oh man...I still have so many years ahead of me to deal with comments like this.
After she told me everything wrong with her outfit, I told her, "Oh Mya, don't pay attention to this kid. He's in 2nd grade. His opinion doesn't matter. He probably doesn't even dress himself." We had a good laugh at the thought of his mom picking out his clothes in the morning, but the laughing didn't last long. His words had stung her heart, and she hurt. She ran inside and changed her outfit and has been a complete wreck every morning since this incident.
I've done my best to be patient with her as she's changed over and over again each day, throwing clothes all over her room because I understand feeling embarrassed and lacking confidence. I've been there (sometimes I'm still there); and this is where she is right now. It is not my job to say too much because what more can I say?! Because as much as I believe what I said to her when she first told me what this boy said to her, I know it's hard to believe it too. How often do we tell our kids or ourselves that words don't matter, but they do matter!! They cut us to the center, and even after the initial shock of the words is gone, the pain lingers, and the pain alters the way we do things in the future.
Words. If we could always choose to be kind with what we say to others...
The world would be a better place. It would be a different place.