Mum’s jaw clenched and her face set to stony granite. She had just had an altercation with one of her daughters and now she was steaming with anger. She stalked along the river path, her two girls of about age seven in tow. One walked silently at her side while the other followed five steps back, crying bitterly, holding her head where her mother had struck her. Mum rounded on her child once more, shouting at her to shut up. The girl’s logical, innocent, heartfelt response to her mother’s public attack was priceless.
“We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve years telling them to site down and shut up.” ~ Phyllis Diller
Childhood can certainly feel like a very harsh and unfair place, devoid of empathy when we are young. A place where we walk a fine line between asserting ourselves and not standing out too far for fear of attracting the attention of the bullies. A place where we find friends and make alliances or risk becoming isolated and made the scapegoat for every other child trying to hide their own internal fears and insecurities.
This particular girl was hurting from where her mother had used her superior size and position to dominate her daughter both physically and verbally. But this girl was determined to let her mother know she was not afraid of standing her ground and speaking up in her own defence. ‘Shut up,’ her mother shouted down at her. In-between gasping sobs she made her defiant response, ‘Oh what, so you just want me to be quiet?’ She cried, ‘I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to be when somebody hits somebody.’
“The child is a traveller arriving in a strange country of which they know nothing” ~John Locke
This girl had just returned serve beautifully against one of the many unkindness’s that a child will absorb on a daily basis, unkindness’s and unkind words like ‘you’re stupid’, or ‘you’ll never amount to anything.’ Words that will shape a child’s belief system.
Belief’s that will determine whether they arrive into adulthood confident and ready to shape the world or arrive battered, and with a defensive wall so thick they will never be able to properly interact with the world. A world that will talk over you, try and bend you to its will, and never simply give you your place… Until you realise life is passing you by and you decide to TAKE your place and speak up for yourself!!!
It is said that everyone you meet is fighting a personal battle of which you know nothing, those battle’s often have their origin in childhood, so be a mentor and a positive influence wherever you can, and always try to see past that person’s façade.