Bully for You

bekah Parenting Leave a Comment

It happened at the park with some friends. The older ones were racing around the structure, pretending to be “Sonic.” Yes, folks, Sonic the Hedgehog is back {insert “I feel old thoughts”} One little munch was playing in the sand, while Ty was circling two boys like a vulture. His face determinedly brazen: “You are my chosen park playmates and I will be joining you both.”

They, on the other hand, were not feeling the same.

Now, I’ll have you know Ty inherited my short stature. Most of his buddies, girls included, are a head taller. Does Ty notice? Nope. So it wasn’t out-of-the-norm for him to be attached to these boys, even though they were bigger in size and probably older in age.

And then I heard it.

You can’t play with us. You’re too small. We’re big, and you’re small. Go away.

I felt mama bear hairs bristle on the back of my neck.

I’ve told you before about my prayer for “parenting pendulum discernment”- listening closely to when I should step in and protect, and when I should allow my little men to use their words and practice bravery. I knew I had to bite my tongue, remove the mental image of bumping those two boys heads together like watermelons, and trust Ty to speak for himself.

And, boy, did he.

I’m not too small, he stated matter-of-factly. I’m big. He crossed his arms and sat down next to them. Firmly planted, his body language shouted loudly, I’m not going anywhere.

They glared at him.

They ignored him.

They continued reminding him: You are too small to play with us.

But Ty remained steadfast, unmoving, right where he wanted to belong. He didn’t yell {surprise, surprise} or say hurtful comments in return. He was content being near them, determined to win them over.

I have much to learn from my youngest, really from kids in general. Their child-like curiosity and trust in the world isn’t yet bruised from life’s hurtful experiences and pain. Children freely give and forgive and invite others to play.

Adult life isn’t much different, is it? It’s our reactions that are night and day.

Some people glare. Some ignore. Some don’t want to be our friends or play on the playground with us. I wish I could say my heart always fills with love for these people as I exercise patience and kindness, and Jesus-like thoughts.

On the contrary.

I’m embarrassed to say sometimes I pout.

Or, I use my words for cutting remarks or voice impulsive thoughts.

Or I believe the lies that I am too small, not enough, and not worth it. I talk to other friends about the mean kids on the playground, because, you know, misery loves company.

Inside, I consider those “big” people more valuable or important than me.

When people don’t want to be my friend, I put up protective walls to shut out the pain or numb the hurt.

Am I alone? How often do we let others words, actions, or lack of actions impact our hearts?

I’ve learned much this past year about expectations, healthy boundaries, and communication. I’ve learned that what others say or don’t say does not define my value and worth. It’s taken me like forever to grasp this eternal lesson, but oh, the freedom, in finally tasting such peace. God has a gentle way of finding pearls in the midst of manure, then stringing them together to reveal something beautiful, one day at a time.

In addition to His Spirit, I’m taking lessons from my favorite three-year-old.

I’m reminded to stand firm when I hear him bravely say, I’m not small. I’m big.

I’m inspired to find joy despite circumstance.

I’m thankful for the incredible blessings of community and safe friends.

And I’m prayerful to not let life mar my innocence or hope in humanity.

Thank you Ty, for being one of my heroes. You reflect one of the bravest, biggest souls I know. Especially on the playground.

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

How have children taught you simple life lessons? Are there times you feel bullied and believe you’re unvalued? In what ways does God’s Spirit remind you of your eternal worth and significance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *