Today my Mama Bear claws are out.
My sweet daughter has been the recipient of some bullying. Fortunately she is doing okay, albeit a little weepy and clearly uncomfortable. She seems to understand that what happened (I’m not going to get into detail) is actually not really about her. I’m proud of her for that.
I’m not quite as proud of what is going on in me. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m all churned up and rather out of sorts. I really want to march up to the person inflicting the pain and MAKE. HER. STOP.
If only it were that easy. I’m keenly aware there are helpful ways to respond to this and that bullying someone back is not the answer. I want to first focus on Cate. I need to remind her over and over again that she is loved and valued; that home is a safe place to come to; that using her words to talk to her teacher was the right thing to do. Maybe the most challenging truth I want to share with her is that we are called to forgive as we have been forgiven. That doesn’t mean she needs to live in fear and should just take the abuse. It does mean that she can choose to walk into school tomorrow and not strike back. I’m quite certain the thought hasn’t even crossed Cate’s mind, I on the other hand…
I also need to consider what is going on in the life of this other young person. Of one thing I am sure: this behaviour, which is ongoing and not just impacting Cate, is springing out of something not healthy or good. I need to pour into her something that is full of light, devoid of the dark stuff that so marks the bullying: foul language, mean-spirited pride, resentment and much anger. Finding her in the schoolyard and giving her an actual kick in the derrière is not really going to have any lasting effect.
We are not the sum of what any human being thinks of us. This world does not define us. This has taken me a lot of years to believe.
I have a sense that Cate already does.