Friday, August 7, 2009

The Lean on Mean (Part Two)

Hey Everybody,
As promised, here is the continuation of the excerpt from Season of Change.
Oddly enough, I approached my middle school years with probably the best set of circumstances of any of my classmates. I came from an unbroken, idyllic home. My mom and dad loved each other, and they loved my sister and me. Perhaps that’s why it was so difficult to understand why I didn’t get the same love and acceptance from my classmates. For the rest of my school years, I stayed pretty angry about the injustice of the whole in-crowd mentality, my frustration stemming largely from the fact that there simply wasn’t anything that I could do about it.

My story is not all that different from other people’s, maybe even yours. I know there are people with great memories of their wonder years and people with far worse reminiscences. If you dare to remember middle school, your stroll down memory lane may not be all sunshine and flowers.
In other words, as our kids confront the same challenges we faced, we will relive them. We will find out what we have really forgiven from those days and what we are still clinging to as adults. We will discover some things about ourselves that God is ready for us to deal with. We’ll see how far we have come, but we’ll get up close and personal with the truth of how far we have to go.
Recently, I was talking with a friend I had not seen in years. We went to middle school together. She still lives in the town where we grew up, and she was catching me up on several old friends. Then she mentioned that she had seen Lindy at a weight loss support group, and these days, the most popular girl was sporting a great deal of extra weight. I am ashamed to admit I could not suppress a smile at this information, and a delicious thrill of pleasure ran through my wicked flesh at the news. I had to repent before God because those feelings were wrong. I realized, in spite of all the years that had passed, I had not totally forgiven her. If I had, I would not have been rejoicing in her difficulties. Still offended by the way I perceived I had been treated, I remained stuck in the middle of sixth grade.

Lest you think I was always a victim, I have another confession to make and another mean girl to tell you about. There was a girl in my class, Michelle, who was a little awkward and tended to be shy. She tried hard, but for all her perseverance, she never fit in. She was always left out, mocked, or simply ignored. One day, Michelle called another girl in our class and asked for her help. She explained that she wanted and needed a friend. But the mean girl she called refused to be her friend. “I just don't like you, Michelle,” she said. “I don't want to be your friend.” Then as Michelle began to cry, this awful, mean girl hung up on her. Guess who the mean girl was? Right. I am so sorry, Michelle. I really am.
Parenting a middle schooler requires us to be real and vulnerable, remembering what those days were like and respecting the trials our kids are going through. As God reaches deeply into our hearts to expose the remaining crumbs of insecurity, unforgiveness, and envy, we will be liberated. The truth will set us free! But be warned: If those chains have become too comfortable, if we have become calloused from their chafing, wrenching them off will be painful.*
Read More Articles:
The Lean on Mean (Part One)
Helping Your Daughter Navigate Mean Girls and Cliques

*Excerpted from Season of Change: Parenting Your Middle Schooler with Passion and Purpose by Rebecca Ingram Powell,  © 2008 Tate Publishing


1 comment:

Melanie said...

Sometimes when the "mean girl" is challenged, she backs off and eventually becomes friendly, if not a friend.
This happened twice with my high school aged girl. It's too long to go into in a comment but when I coached my daughter to stand up for herself it all just turned around. Fascinating.

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