The gorgeous letter at the bottom of this post (which I have personalized) was originally posted at Momastery by Glennon Doyle Melton. I would love you to stop by her fabulous page and get yourself a bit of inspiration and hope to take on the craziness of the school year, that is nipping at our heels.
As Glennon would say, Carry on, Warrior.
We’ve been having “The Talk” for many years now, my girl and I. And lately, I’ve felt that it’s more important than ever before. I wish that all moms and dads would have “The Talk” with their kids, beginning in the womb if possible. It’s just that damn important.
Because too many kids are mean. And, dare I say it, too many kids are complacent.
You know… they aren’t exactly the mean kid or the bully, but they aren’t going out of their way to be a friend, either. Complacent.
Not bad, but not great.
And I think we’ve got to challenge our kids to be a bit more than just, ‘not bad.’ Here’s a simple way to begin.
Glennon at Momastery wrote this gorgeous letter, and invited us all to replace her kids’ names with ours. And even though we aren’t officially headed off to school (YAY for no lunch boxes!) we really are around a lot of people. And my girl could always use a little bit of encouragement to listen to the heartache that is compassion.
So here is my letter, with help from Glennon. Please pop over to her site, Momastery.com and write your own letter to your kids before they head off to school, or co-op, or swimming lessons, or wherever you will be sending them. The world needs more action and less complacency. Let’s inspire our kids!
I can’t believe how fast this has come. Ninth grade – wow.
Laine – When I was in ninth grade, there was a little boy in my class named Tim.
Tim looked a little different and he wore funny clothes. Tim didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Sometimes, he didn’t do his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Tim a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.
And I never really talked to Tim. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch. Instead, he sat by himself. He must have been very lonely.
I still think about Tim and I wonder how he remembers me? Does he think of me as kind and loving? Probably not.
I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The people you will meet this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.
So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.
Baby, if you see someone being left out, or hurt, or teased, a part of your heart will hurt a little. I want you to trust that heart-ache. Your whole life, I want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart-ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Laine! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.
Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.
Compassion might lead you to tell a mean person to stop it and then befriend the bullied. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.
Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to speak to an adult, or maybe tell me. We are on the same team, and asking for help for someone who is hurting is doing the right thing. If someone in your life needs help, please tell me, babe. We will make a plan to help together.
When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Tim. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Tim could have used a friend and I could have, too.
Laine – I do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of competitions in life and I don’t care if you win a single one of them. I don’t care if you get straight As. I don’t care if the boys think you’re cute or whether the girls think you are cool. I don’t care if you have the best clothes or the coolest gadgets. I just don’t care.
I don’t send you to anywhere so that you can become the best at anything at all. I already love you as much as I possibly could. You do not have to earn my love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.
I place you in social situations to practice being brave and kind.
Kind people are brave people. Brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.
Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.
Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.
Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.
Take care of those friends of yours. You Belong to Each Other. You are a fortunate girl . . . with all sorts of new friends to make this year.
I love you so much that my heart might explode.
Enjoy and cherish your gift of friendship. Share it with everyone you meet.
And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.