Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Blame Your Parents

I am a survivor.  I have never had cancer but I am a survivor.  I was not just teased as a child I was tormented.  My parents did everything that they knew how to do and then some until I just stopped telling them.  I was  a precocious child (understatement of the century) and the only girl of 5 children.  My life at home was amazing.  Spoiled was my first language and being the baby of the family was the runway to my success.  Unfortunately, my story didn't end at home.  I was enrolled in a private school at an early age.  This can be a good thing but for me it was not.  I was in a small class and I was the only overweight child most of that time.  I remember well the birthday party of a friend that began my downward spiral. I made a choice that I still struggle with today.  I decided that my value and worth had more to do with  my weight than with my talents, abilities or God given gifts.  When I eventually left the private school world (ok, I demanded my parents take me out or I would purposely fail all my classes) and entered the public school system I discovered a whole new set of challenges. I was called a slut, whore and opportunist.  I went from being the unwanted to the ultimate temptress. The families in our neighborhood did not want their girls spending time with me and certainly not their sons. Some of them took it upon themselves to call my parents to tell them my reputation and ask them to help keep their child away from me.

Tonight I heard and watched the story of a girl in her 16th year who decided to end her own life.  I saw, in her words, many of my own thoughts and experiences.  I know what it is like to beg people to love you. I know what it is like to be the one not invited... not just once, but over and over again.  I  largely blame the parents.  I know that so many people will disagree with me but hear my  heart first.  I have children.  There are kids they like and kids they don't. Sometimes they even have very good reasons why they feel that way.   My children have been taught that they are to either, invite everyone or invite a few and if by chance others find out about it... it is now an open invitation.  There will be no "uninvited" guests.  My children know why.  Parents (if they chose to listen) know their children better than anyone.  If you see that your child is making decisions based on outward appearance or social status... you know it.  You do.  If you allow it, you should be ashamed of yourself.  I know that we all want our child to be at the top of the heap but never lose sight of the ultimate goal.  We want our children to be better than we are.  We want them to love and give more than we have.  Our dreams for them should not be centered around the kind of success that fades and fades quickly. By applauding them for the the things that really matter we are teaching them to applaud others for the same.

I struggle everyday with the echos of the words people have spoken.  After I grew older it expanded from my weight to other things about me that people didn't like or find attractive.  Time and date do not matter when it comes to the heart.  Think about what you say.  Think about what you allow others to say in your presence.  Be better.  Do better.  Be the first line of defense and teach your children how to speak to other people and how to speak about other people.  Teach them not only respect but what really deserves respect.