To The Kindergarten Bully, I want you to know that I see you, I REALLY see you. And that all of this pain you hold inside is only going to hold you back.
Dear Kindergarten Bully,
Today, my sweet, sweet little girl came home from school visibly upset. She was a little quieter than normal and didn’t want to really share how her day had gone. She finally told me that you have been giving her a hard time…not just today, but for a few weeks now. You won’t include her during play time, you give her ugly looks when she’s in class, and you let her know on a daily basis that you are not her friend. And perhaps worst of all, on random days, you are nice to her and you would not believe how happy she comes home…like all is right in the world because you are ready to be her friend, until tomorrow that is.
So it got me thinking – why are you doing this to her? Because while kids your age can be thoughtless and brutally honest, there is a difference in being INTENTIONALLY mean. At first, I wanted to be mad at you, snub you when I came in to class to volunteer. Because for a brief moment, I forgot I was the adult…I could only see through the glasses of pain that my daughter has been wearing for a few weeks.
But then my mind got ahold of my heart and I knew – I knew I couldn’t be that way to you because I am a Mom. Because I see through you like all moms should. I have that special insight that magically appears after you have kids – the kind that makes moms reach out to stop a child crossing the street even if not their own…the kind that makes a mom’s heart break when a child is taken, because you can literally feel the gut-wrenching pain the other mom must feel.
So I see you – I see past this façade you are trying to create at the age of 5. I know it’s all a defense – your way of protecting yourself from the hurt you are feeling.
I know your parents are separated and when you see my daughter with her doting mom and dad, you yearn for that kind of love in unison.
I know your house isn’t as “nice” as mine, or at least that’s how you perceive it.
I know school work doesn’t come easily for you – reading…math…these are a struggle for you.
I know you’re a pretty girl and you’ve been told that so much that your whole self-worth is tied to this.
I know it drives you crazy how happy my little girl seems – that smile that is always plastered on her face.
I know you hate how I volunteer in the classroom once a week – because you really want it to be your mom sometime.
And here is what else I know…
I know that love comes packaged in all different parental combinations. That sometimes it’s two parents, but sometimes it’s one. Sometimes it’s even a grandparent or an aunt. So while a 2 parent family is the ideal, it is hardly the norm anymore and I believe that genuine and true love is found in most of these homes.
I know, from first hand experience, the size of your home or your socioeconomic status have absolutely ZERO impact on the amount of love and support that exists in that same home. I grew up in poverty basically and not once…not one single time…did I ever feel unloved or neglected. In fact, quite the opposite – I believe in that old country song, “Love Grows Best In Little Houses.” Never forget that money doesn’t reflect love. Love reflects love.
I know that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Yours may not be reading but possibly art or playing the piano. Or maybe you will be the fastest runner on the track team one day. Or maybe you are meant to be a leader – with social skills that will set you apart. You may not know your strengths right now but know that you have them. They are inside of you waiting to be discovered. But if you are so wrapped up in wanting to be someone else you will never be able to find the awesome person you are.
I know that looks are fleeting – yes, when you are much older, wrinkles will appear, skin will be less firm, weight gain will creep up. But I’m not even talking about that – I mean looks are fleeting in like 6 years for you…that prepubescent awkward phase with maturing bodies, weight shifting, acne, etc…these are the things that you have to look forward to. And what then? If you’re not pretty, what will you have? Where will your self confidence lie? What will make you valuable? Because you will need to figure those answers out. “Pretty” is ancillary – it can be used to describe you but shouldn’t BE you.
I know that true joy isn’t always derived from happiness. Being happy is a phase but being joyful is a state of mind. So when you see my little girl smiling in class, it doesn’t mean that she is happy about everything but that she has learned to look at the bigger picture and focus on the joy. Yes, even at 5, kids do this.
And perhaps most importantly, I know that the person you are becoming today will be a huge indicator of the person you are going to be in 10 years, 20 years, etc. Your little personality and demeanor are really taking shape. And once those are formed, it is VERY hard to change them. I run into grown up versions of you all the time – the chip on the shoulder, the nasty looks, the need to make someone feel like less. And I would bet that most of these people started acting that way about your age.
And let me be the first to tell you that the way you are making my little girl feel is the same way I feel as an adult when someone treats me that way. I may be more mature and more grounded in who I am but the sting is the same. For me, that never goes away.
So I am writing this letter to let you know that you are more…more than you think you are. You are someone of worth and you can have a positive impact on those you come in contact with but only if you want to. And I am telling you that the world around you is going to get harder, not easier. And you are going to find more people that have more than you or what you “want.”
So you need to start now on working to find you. Who you want to be, how you are going to treat others, and perhaps more importantly how you are going to take the circumstances in your life and figure out how to do it better going forward. Because no one is this life gets a free ride – we all have hurt and suffering. For some it’s easily seen – a parent’s divorce, illness, the inability to fit in. But for many, it’s internal – but let me tell you that EVERYONE is battling some sort of demon in their life. So you can forget that notion of a perfect life right now.
But if you will find the real you and stay true to that person, you will become the person that people WANT to be around. And you will make genuine friendships and connections based on kindness and respect, not fear. So that when those times in life come when what you really need is love and support, people like my little girl will come to your side. And maybe one day you will face the same dilemma I am in – where your little girl is facing the school bully, whatever the age. And you will have to make the choice to act like a bully yourself or open your eyes and really SEE that hurting child. And I pray you see.
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