Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't be that girl

I spent the day at a suicide prevention conference. It was both fascinating and distressing. I learned a lot about the human psyche, why we need relationships to be healthy, functioning human beings and why we all are in fact our brother's keeper.
The most distressing part was how cruel kids are. What struck me was that they are learning it from somewhere. Our society has become almost cannibalistic; we turn on people who are weak, who are different or just because we know we can get away with that. As a result, those who most need affirming relationships are thrown to the wolves.
So today, I'm setting a goal to not be that girl:
  • Who is threatened by another woman simply because she seems more successful than me.
  • Who feels better when I push others down.
  • Who whispers and gossips instead of speaking out loud.
  • Who doesn't say anything when another person is being hurt.
  • Who doesn't want to make waves.
  • Who never teaches my children the true meaning of Christlike love — as in, love everyone unconditionally, no matter if they dress weird, talk "funny," don't act quite right or are boys who like boys.
  • Who expects the church, the school, the Girl Scouts to teach my children that bullying and hate are not OK because I can't or won't do it myself.
  • Who doesn't butt in when I know someone is being abused.
  • Who makes excuses for poor behavior or who fails to recognize the damage such behavior is inflicting.
  • Who blames the victim. (Side note: I had a leader in Young Women who asked how her son could be expected to treat his date like a lady when she answered the door in a strapless dress. I was 13 when I had that conversation. I hope, sister, that you taught your son to treat every woman like a lady no matter what she was wearing. A gentleman isn't polite only to his peers.)
  • Who diminishes myself so I don't stand out from the crowd. So no one notices me. So I will never become a target.
I, after all, am a daughter of God. I have parents who love me and people who look up to me. I have the capacity to do much good in the world. We all do. Refusing to be noticed so as to not become a target lets the bullies win.

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