I'm sure we've all seen the movies especially any story where the setting is in a high school and there is some sort of popular girl clique or the jocks, and they are just downright mean to anyone not like them. I remember being picked on in school. I wouldn't say I was bullied but I was definitely teased occassionally. I remember being nervous about one class in middle school that had a few of the most popular girls in it and they would tease me bc my pants were too short (I can remember I was definitely prepared for a flood ;), or the way I wore my hair, and for not having on name brand shoes, etc. I remember wishing I could be like them, eat lunch w/ them at the "cool table", dress and style my hair like them. Now that Im older, Im glad I was not like them at all. It has taken time and maturity to really understand that during those experiences I was not the one who was at the disadvantage. Being the type of person who treats others like they are less than who they are, should never be envied no matter what that person may have that you don't.
Ive seen countless documentaries and read many stories of people who while growing up were picked on for many reasons such as being too tall, too fat, too different, too poor and the list goes on. Some said they didn't have a lot of friends, felt bad about themselves, and some may even had thoughts and attempts at hurting themselves due to their circumstances. Many of those same stories however evolved and many years later as adults, they have embraced whatever it was that made them different. They have led successful lives and careers using those differences to open doors for others.
What is it about being different that people fear? Do you have to look like me and come from the same economic background for me to embrace you as a human being? This world is made up of so many different people and it would be quite boring if it were not. I am grateful that as a military kid, I was able to go to many schools that had kids of all different cultures. I had many friends who were asian, white, black, mixed, hispanic, etc and it was a great experience that unfortnuately ieveryone doesn't get the ability to experience.
I often thank God that I didn't grow up in a time of cyber bulling, facebook, and instagram where kids are being tormented from behind closed doors. When I was in school the only way you knew about a fight was if you was present or heard about from someome who was there, but never could someone record it on their cell phone for the world to see over and over again. Its disgusting seeing and hearing about what people will do to each other and how some people won't step up to stop it or speak up for the victim at the time- NOT after its been recorded 1st. What kind of person do you have to be, to want to watch someone being tormented and think nothing of it? This has got to stop and we as parents, mentors, grandparents, friends, family, church members, etc, we need to instill in our children grace, love, and acceptance of our differences through being a good example to them of those characteristics. Often times kids learn these discriminatory and evil behaviors from the examples that adults set. Lets just face it -mean kids sometimes become mean adults. What if we treated everyone like a child of God because we understood that He created and loves us all. God didn't make any mistakes when he formed us in our mother's wombs, so lets teach our kids this when they encounter people who may look, speak, think, sound different.
My prayer for my girls and for my life is to embrace the differences in the world. No matter how smart my kids are, how well they are in sports, or even what college they may get accepted into, it would warm my heart and make me more proud to see them befriending and loving on people who are treated in disgust. I would love for my girls to be the kind of kids at school who invites the bullied child to eat lunch w/ them bc they see they have no one to sit with. I would love for them to go through their things and ask if we can donate extra stuff to a classmate that they may see in need instead of only thinking of themselves. I would be overjoyed for them to befriend a refugee kid or a kid who might live at a homeless shelter at their school who feels alone, different, and maybe even embarrassed about their hardships in life. The hearts of my girls to want to serve and love others is what my husband and I want to foster and praise MORE than looks, possessions, and abilities.
Do you remember the answer Jesus gave when asked which command in the law was the greatest most important request?
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39
In order to love our neighbors in the way God expects we must love God. If we first love God, we will then come to understand the way he loves others. Jesus spent time with sinners, people who were sick, disabled, poor, rich, hurting, VERY different from himself and the list goes on. He was also purposeful in his time spent with these individuals. I wonder would would happen to our world (or even on a smaller scale- our communities) if we put His example into our everyday lives and were more loving of people especially of people who are different from ourselves...