NOTHING hurts a momma like when someone hurts your child. And honestly, I thought it would be long after kindergarten before it happened. There are so many conversations with my children in which I wish I had been better prepared. And walking Charlotte through the conversation of “am I ugly?” was no different.
We try to make time in the car matter. Why? Because we spend so much time coming and going. On our way home from picking Charlotte up from school, Cody and I like to ask Charlotte about her day. But we’ve learned if we say, “how was your day?” we get one answer…
Every. Time. Anybody else?
She’s really more interested in her after school snack than having a philosophical discussion about the day’s events.
Now we say…
Charlotte, tell me the best part of your day.
Tell me the worst part of your day.
The best part can be any combination of things. She has a few go-to things like recess, playing with friends or any and every craft project.
The worst part is normally the same answer too.
“There wasn’t a worst part. It was all good.”
Now, if we were asking my middle child, he would have a worst part.
Nap time. If they didn’t serve his favorite snack. If he didn’t get to wear his cape to school.
But not my Charlotte Mae. She’s just a glass is half full kind of person.
Charlotte’s Bad Day
So, the day that I picked her up from school and she had a worst part of the day, it hit me in the gut.
The door of the minivan had just closed.
Mommy, you know how you and daddy always ask about the worst part of my day?
Well today I had one.
I’m so sorry Charlotte Mae. Do you want to tell me about it?
Today in class my friend told me that my hair was ugly and then she laughed. Mommy, never in my whole life has anyone told me I was ugly. Do you think my hair is ugly?
Am I Ugly?
I’m glad some conversations with our kids happen in the car because it’s easier to hide my face and all of its emotions. Which is no different than the time Charlotte asked her dad “Daddy, how DID I get into mommy’s belly?”
My mind was racing with so many thoughts.
Well, this is it. This is the moment where we pull her from the class. Where we try to find a different class. A better class. Or maybe move schools. Maybe it’s the school.
Or how about…
Tell me her name. Tell me the little girl’s name and I’m going to call her momma right now. She is going to apologize to you. She is going to be sorry she ever messed with my little girl.
And somewhere in those thoughts was…
Well, next time you tell her that HER hair is…
Do you know those moments where you are searching for words, because you feel like this is an important moment and you just don’t want to miss saying the right thing? But so many thoughts are running through your head and you just need one of them to slow down enough that you can grab on and speak it into being?
And the only thought that came to mind was something about turning the other cheek.
Nope, nu uh. Not that one Jesus. I need a different one. The one about life being fair for my little girl. The one where we FIGHT for and PROTECT our babies! The one where my feelings get to dictate what I do in this moment.
But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Matthew 5:39
Let me tell you how much I like this verse in my Bible.
Zilch, zero, nada.
Let me tell you how often I apply this in my everyday life and in my kid’s lives.
About the length of my pinky fingernail.
ALL of this ran through my head in a few seconds time. Because that is my super power as a mom. Running a thousand thoughts through my head all at the same time. Cody thinks it’s a super power anyways. I am still amazed ten years into marriage when I ask him what he’s thinking, and he responds “nothing” and HE MEANS IT!
Back to the point of the story and not my entire thought process. I prayed what I pray often.
My Mom Prayer
“Lord, give me the words to say. You know what she needs most in this moment.”
Charlotte. You are beautiful. Your hair is lovely. Your heart is even more lovely. Nothing anyone says will ever change that. Jesus made you beautiful. The Bible tells us that God knew you before you were born. He created you to look just like you look. He says you are beautiful. Mommy says you are beautiful.
But Mommy, why did the little girl say my hair was ugly?
(Because SHE’S UGLY, MEAN, HATEFUL…no no no….not what I’m supposed to say in this moment.)
I don’t know baby. Maybe because she’s heard someone tell her that her hair is ugly? Maybe someone has spoken hurtful words to her?
What should I do tomorrow mommy?
Do you think you could tell her that her hair is beautiful?
But what if she says mine is ugly?
And even if she does. Even if she says your hair is ugly. Can you find something beautiful about her and tell her she is beautiful?
I can try mommy.
And Charlotte. Do you know that I think you are beautiful?
Yeah mommy. (Rolling her eyes) You tell me every day.
Now hear me out. I’m not saying that we let people bully our kids. I’m not saying we force our kids to make grown up decisions. I am not saying that there will never be a time when I don’t need to step in and protect my child.
I’m just saying that this Jesus thing is often the opposite of what I want to do. Even what the world tells me is okay to do.
And just because I’m talking about MY KID does not mean that I get to have it MY WAY.
I want to start applying these lessons early in hopes that along the way it starts to stick…for both of us.
Moments like this force me to examine my “why” for parenting.
In anything in life, we can easily forget “why” we are doing something. It just becomes a mindless part of our day.
These few years we are granted with our little ones are too important to waste away without a clear “why.” And since I’ve missed plenty of moments, I’ve set some goals for myself to try to remember.
Goal: When my child faces self-doubt- Help them see their worth in a God that doesn’t change.
And sure, you can giggle at this whole post because you may very well be thinking I’m a crazy mom who got worked up over her kid being called ugly. But you know what… I can practice these things now.
Because one day it will be someone yelling at my kid when she misses a goal.
One day it will be a group of girls that says she doesn’t belong.
One day it may be a boy telling her a different way to find worth.
One day it may be a teacher, a boss, or even a friend.
Whether it’s a kindergarten girl or any of these other scenarios, the answer should always be the same. I can’t make life fair and kind. But I can point her to a God who determined her worth long before anyone else had a chance to speak into her.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139: 13-14
Where Worth is Found
I tell my kids they are wonderful because they are made in the image of God. I tell them this while combing their hair in the mornings and tucking them in at night. But I do them no good if I don’t remind them of this when someone else says differently. If I’m too busy trying to make the world “right”, how does that line up with me telling them all the time that their worth comes from God and not from someone else. If I’m too busy trying to make others apologize, doesn’t that just give more power into what others are saying? Or what if every time someone speaks against my child, we hear it for what it is, take the good lessons from it that we can, leave the rest and find our worth in Jesus.
Not in our looks.
Not in our performances.
Not in our grades.
Not in our friends.
But in Jesus.
Goal: When my child faces opposition- Teach them to display Jesus rather than to get even.
“But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
This is where things get a little tricky for me. I can speak of worth into my kids all day long. But I also want the world to back me up on that. I want the world to remind my kids of Jesus. I want the world to be kind. I want Mr. Roger’s neighborhood every day. But the Bible says that we will have trouble and yet, we don’t have the option as Christians to get mad and get even. Jesus says to turn the other cheek. I can come up with all of my excuses on why this doesn’t apply to me. Or I can suck it up and do it. I shouldn’t be surprised from the hurt in the world. It shouldn’t shock me. I shouldn’t puff up like an Oompa Loompa and roll my way towards bitterness and revenge. I should stand firm on truth and show Charlotte that we aren’t moved by a mean whisper of unkind words or a strong wind of hateful lies. We expect this. We know it’s coming and we respond with Jesus.
While kindergarten is so short a time frame and has only a few little obstacles, I know that there is more at stake. It is my chance to start now. To act out what we believe. And to teach Charlotte to do the same. Otherwise, how can I hope my children will display Jesus in the big decisions in their life if we don’t practice in the small things? What if I miss the opportunities in the car, on the way to the ballgame, during the conversation in the Walmart checkout line? I don’t want to see my kids as seniors in high school walking across that stage and question if I took the time to prepare them for the most important lessons.
Ultimately, my goal is to point my daughter towards a need for a Savior. And to live her life according to this book called the Bible that we believe is true. A place she will be told of her worth and given the strength to turn to the one crying “ugly” and tell them they are beautiful.