First, watch this video titled Dear Mom by Ky Baldwin…
I really debated if I would post anything, as I tend to be fairly private, typically avoiding being publicly vulnerable.
When friends on Facebook shared this video though – I watched it for the first time and I felt important to share my part, in case it could help just one other person.
In fifth grade, I moved to Maine. My parents got divorced and my sister, mom and I moved north where her family lived. In Florida, I went to a small private school and had lots of friends. I was social and outgoing, funny and friendly. When we moved, I didn’t know a soul. I rode the bus each day to school and learned about things I’d never heard of before. It was probably there I began to lose my innocence! Once, on the bus, when a boy found out about my annual summer-long trips to Florida – he asked me “then why do you live there?” referring to my double-wide home we passed each day. I told him because my dad lived in Florida and that closed his mouth real quick.
I remember during one of my first weeks at my new school, there was a girl that was friendly to me and I was in return. I also remember that others commented to me about not talking to her and that she was “weird”. I didn’t know any better, I thought she was nice. While I’m sad to admit I didn’t go out of my way to become friends with her, I’m grateful that I wasn’t cruel to her either, as others were.
As the years went on and I got to middle school, I so badly wanted to be cool. I wanted others to like me and I wanted to be popular more than anything. But, kids are kids, and trying to be part of that cool crew wasn’t fun at all. I spent many lunches in the gym bathroom just to avoid the awkwardness of trying to fit in. That’s not something I’ve really shared, but I think it’s important for people to know that it happens to everyone. I know it could have been worse…but at best, it wasn’t pleasant, and at worst, downright painful.
And I definitely did see it worse. Both my sister and I knew two people who killed themselves in 8th grade. We were just children then, even if we didn’t admit it. Middle school is hard, and I would tell someone they were crazy if they ever wished to go back.
Unfortunately, kids can often and easily be mean. As a parent, I encourage you to teach them to loves themselves and others. Bullying happens every day. It’s happened to many of us. But don’t let someone become a statistic. Be kind, embrace someone, help them to feel welcome. We are all human and have more in common than we’d care to admit.
We all have assumptions and judgments about others. I’m sure many people even now have assumptions about me, and my husband for that matter. I didn’t grow up rich, I wasn’t handed anything, I wasn’t cool, and I had never been out of the country until I studied abroad in college – funded by a student loan. As the saying goes, if you judge someone, you have no time to love them. And we could all use a little love.
It’s taken me most of my life to understand – it’s a nice thing if you can be attractive, smart, successful, well-dressed, liked. But were you kind? Did you have a giving heart and an open mind?
Never be cruel and help make the lives of others better not worse. If that is the only legacy I leave, I’ll be thankful for it.