Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart.
You told me about a mean girl.
You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.
It made me sad and angry. I didn’t understand it. When I look at you, I see someone who is sweet and kind and caring and loving, and I don’t know why someone would mistreat you.
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It also made me sad and angry because it brought up those same feelings I’ve had again and again when I’ve been left out, gossiped about, and looked down upon. It brought to the forefront of my mind the hard experiences I had as a kid and the difficult experiences I am still having as an adult.
I wish I could have told you it gets better.
I wish I could have told you there will be no more mean girls.
I wish I could have told you that mean girls are rare. But unfortunately, they’re not. Apparently, they’re even in the second grade.
I wish I could have told you that mean girls grow up. But unfortunately, mean girls become mean women, and it’s something you’ll have to deal with for the rest of your life.
I couldn’t tell you what I wished was true. So I took a deep breath and asked God to help me with what to say.
And then I told you, “I’m so sorry.” I told you getting left out sucks, and it’s not your fault, and there is nothing wrong with you.
I told you that you now had empathy and that because you know how it feels to hurt like this, you would never want to make anyone else feel this way.
I told you that you can stand up for yourself or others in a firm but gentle way.
And that you can tell that person they hurt your feelings without trying to attack them or get back at them.
I explained that people are broken and hurt and insecure and they take it out on others. Hurt people hurt people. And it has nothing to do with you.
I reminded you that yes this girl is sinful, but so are we. And because Christ forgives us, we will have to forgive her too.
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I suggested that we could pray for her and you said yes and then we did. We prayed for her heart to change and blessings over her.
Then you told me you were going to include her in something special to you.
You told me you would be kind to her even if she wasn’t kind to you.
You reminded me how to handle difficult people in the way God asks us to.
I wish I could tell you there will be no more mean girls.
I wish I could tell you it gets better.
It doesn’t get better.
But we can be.