I’ve been talking to my oldest daughter about what would happen if people were kind and included everyone.
Can you imagine?
I’m starting to realize that everything from our shoes to our titles works to divide us and put us into certain groups. We’re taught to exclude others in order to form an identity for ourselves. We begin to know ourselves by who we push out of our groups.
But. . . what if? What if we didn’t do this?
I’m praying for it. I’m praying that we’re the kind of people who demonstrate kindness and simply include people. “Go find the little girl that nobody is playing with, and invite her into your group! Who cares what she’s wearing, who her parents are, or whether or not she picks her nose!”
But this doesn’t happen all the time. We’re driven by competition and deep insecurity most of the day. Oh, if only we were secure enough in God’s love to be kind and inclusive at all times! If only we were secure enough to build radical communities where every one contributed and felt valuable and loved! If only we were strong enough not to gossip, insult, or reject!
I’m praying for it.
Raising daughters is hard.
Yes, raising daughters is hard. I raised one daughter and three sons, and agree that this matter referenced in your blog has much more relevance to girls than boys. You are doing a good job to discuss it with her, and to encourage her to a higher standard than the norm. With God's help we can love others better and show that love by kindness even risking being ostracized by some. But it is hard for a child!!
My mom taught me to be the girl who found the person who looked like she needed a friend and befriend her. At the time, even though I followed her advice, I longingly looked at the group I was left out of and always thought they were having more fun than my group of mis-fits. As an adult I re-kindled my friendship with the girl I viewed as the “queen” of the exclusionary group. Talking to her I learned that they really weren't having all that much fun. My friends, on the other hand, have life time memories of all the silly, ridiculous, crazy, and fun things we did together. And it was all because we reached out, took a chance on each other, and made it happen.
Oh, and the mother of the “queen?” She once told my mother that when hosting parties for the teenagers in the church “you don't have to include everyone, you know.” I'm sure glad my mother thought that at least a lot of the time it was good to include everyone.