Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Don't you hate it when you see children's feelings being hurt by mean children?  I think we've all seen it, or maybe we've been the one that someone is being mean to. I've never understood why meanies get such a thrill over hurting others.

My little granddaughter posed the question last night to her mother, "Why are popular people so mean?"  My daughter replied, "Maybe the greater question is, 'why are mean people popular?"  The poor child is being outcast by some she'd like to be her friends. She would be a friend to all, and doesn't understand their need to ignore her or to show her unkindness in word or deed.  She's too young to be able to walk away and take no stock in it. She's taught that we should all be 'sweet' to other people, to apologize when we've wronged someone, and to think before we speak.  This elementary school occurance doesn't line up with what she's been taught and practices.

Another granddaughter, older and in middle school, was the most delightful, well-loved student in preschool and elementary grades. She was thoughtful and considerate, helpful and kind to everyone. When she moved to middle school, there were those who determined that she should be called names and left out of activities.  At that age, most children want to be 'popular' with their peers, and she, too, had deeply hurt feelings.  After two years of ill treatment, she's standing up for herself. She doesn't speak to them with unkindness, but she will not bow to them, either.  One day she showed her bravery, and perhaps antagonized the situation, by sitting down for lunch at a table where she knew they always sat.  One of the "meanies" told her that it was 'their' table. After looking around, she announced that she didn't see their names anywhere in the area.  They said, "We've sat here since grade school". Her answer was, "Well, I'm sitting here today."  When another student walked by, the "meanie" announced with sarcasm, "You might as well sit at this table. Apparently anyone can sit here!"  The other student didn't sit, but my granddaughter stayed in her seat.

It's so hard for people, young and old, to be treated with such disregard. I hurt for my granddaughters, as I was one of those who received the 'not worthy' status from some kids in school. I was not athletic, so I was always chosen last for every team. I wasn't a cheerleader. I was a part of the school play, but certainly no where near the star of the show.  And, I didn't care about those things, but I did care about the cliques that were very obviously avoiding anyone who wasn't in them.

It doesn't occur only in schools. It seems to be a part of every organization. I would think that by the time people grow to adulthood that they would leave that immature practice behind, but some don't. It may be that they are so self-absorbed that they can't see that a quiet person has something to offer, if asked. Maybe they just want the glory for themselves of doing it 'all' .  I don't know. 

I know only this, that my grandchildren are hurting and that theres's nothing we can do to help them, other than to teach them not to hurt others. It's one of those lessons that comes with the 'school of hard knocks'. It cannot be taught by others. As they live, they will need to make choices to be the kind of people they want to be.  They will have to grow their own 'tough skin' and learn to let things roll off their backs.  But, I also know that it's not an easy lesson to learn.