Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Mean People - Where Has All the Kindness Gone?

Mean people. They exist. Let me tell you something about mean people: they make my blood boil. Seriously. It is one thing to deal with meanies as an adult, but when tweens and teens are mean to my kids, that truly sends me over the edge of the cliff I live on into Heartbreakeville. When someone is mean to Brailey or Britt, I think it hurts me more than it hurts them. I can barely stand it. But the fact of the matter is, and this is what I tell my kiddos, there are a lot of mean people out there, and we have to learn how to handle them. Because no matter where you go and what you do, there are always going to be mean people.

It's true, isn't it? The world is full of mean. Girls in particular are the worst. I cannot believe some of the things I see girls doing. I am grateful Brailey is not a mean girl, and I know for a fact she is not. No, I'm not barn blind. Frankly, Brailey is more mature than most adults, me included, and she handles meanness better than anyone I've ever seen when she experiences it, which is more often than I can stand, but you know what? It still hurts her. It hurts her deeply. I say to her, "Why don't you say something?" But she knows that these mean girls always twist things around and make it about the person they are being mean to and say that person is being dramatic. That's how mean people work, isn't it? They never take responsibility, they always want to be the center of attention, they always blame someone else for their own jealousy and insecurity.

Insecurity - that is what it all boils down to. Who isn't insecure? Only one person I can think of - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Frankly, he wrote the book on being confident. He is one of my heroes! But he didn't always have life so easy, and he himself experienced a lot of mean people. Today, he is one of the most real, kind, cool and caring celebrities on the planet. He also works harder than anyone else and remains humble. One of the secrets to success - being humble.

Even boys today have become mean. There are so many bullies out there, it seriously boggles the mind! Britt has been bullied many times, believe it or not. As big as he is, he's a gentle giant. There isn't much he can do in today's politically correct society. Brady and I would love to give him the go-ahead to just "handle it" when he comes across mean boys, but Britt is the one who would be in trouble, and it would follow him for life, so we do our best to keep him in check. And he is a sweet boy by nature, so it would probably be hard for him to be mean. Not that he is perfect by any means, but he does have a tender soul.

We used to have a person in our family who is the meanest person I have ever had the displeasure to meet. I have truly never experienced someone with so much hate in their heart. She nearly destroyed our family, but didn't quite manage to get it done. I am so grateful for that! The saying "blood is thicker than water" is true. But the pain she caused over the past few years was immense, and she knew she was causing it and she enjoyed it. I am not making this up - this person was so mean, she was crazy with it! To this day, every move in her life is calculated and manipulating. I am talking certifiably, Gone Girl (read the book, see the movie!), maniacal kind of behavior. Dangerous mean. She has done a lot of damage, wreaked a lot of character assassination, but now she is out of the picture, and we could not be more relieved and happy about it if we tried. It puts a whole new spin on "Gone Girl." She is GONE from our lives. And we thank God for it!

I always wonder why people are so mean, though. Especially kids. Are they out of touch with their parents? What is it? Are their parents mean? I know I have passed some of my worse traits on to my kids, but I have always, always expected them to be kind. And they are. My kids are KIND. They think about other people. They have manners. They say please and thank you. But no matter how hard it is for me as their mother, they will always have to deal with mean people. I wish I could think of a way to change to world in this regard. I see so many things about kindness all the time, and yet it is rare for kids to experience it on a daily basis. Why is this? Why do girls think it is okay to ditch their friends, to say unflattering things about someone's hair, to say someone is being dramatic because their feelings were hurt, to not speak to someone for untold reasons or to not accept someone who is new to a group? Where do they learn this behavior?

If you're reading this, I hope you will take a few extra seconds out of your day to really look at your kids. Check in with them. Talk to them. Even when they don't want to talk. Ask them specific things about their daily interactions. Ask them what they said, what their friends said. Ask them who they went to lunch with. Ask them questions whether they like it or not. Ask them in the morning. Ask them in the afternoon. Ask them at night. You will learn a lot, I promise you. And please do NOT misunderstand me - I do not think my kids are perfect! (Even though my beloved mother-in-law swears to me they are, in fact, perfect, I know they are not.) When I hear my B's say something they did or said that I find was inappropriate? I call them on it. Somehow, we have to do a better job at teaching our kids to be kind, because they are growing up in a very tough world, and if they are mean when they are kids, they will be even meaner as adults.

As the famous saying goes, mean people suck. Let's all work harder to be kind and to help kids today learn how to be kind. As far as I can see, kindness in kids is rare, and we need to work harder to teach them how to be good, kind souls. "Throw kindness around like confetti!" That is one of the best phrases I've ever heard. I hope and pray we can all do a better job of teaching this concept to our kids.

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