This post originally appeared September 14, 2010 on Slaughterhouse Rules.
Last night while brushing Belle's hair, she turned and looked at me and asked, "Mama? Do you think I'm weird?" My heart sank. I knew there had to be a reason for such a question. When I asked where it came from, she told me some kids at school have been calling her 'weird'.
After the initial surge of anger and desire to knock out a couple 7 year olds passed, I took her in the kitchen and sat her on the bar so we could be face to face. And I told her... "Baby, if weird means different, then yes. I think you are."
She looked at me like... "HUH?" And I told her I could not be prouder that people see a difference in her... that she doesn't feel the need to act, speak, imitate everyone else. I told her the confidence she has in who she is and her ability to see the good in everyone and every situation could not make me and her daddy more happy. I told her for the rest of her life, people are going to follow after things of the world, and because of that, they will eventually all look the same... and the only time she needs to be worried is if she ever stops standing out as 'different' or even 'weird'.
I told her, "You're not supposed to be the same."
She smiled at me and said, "So when they say I'm weird, I should just say 'thank you?'" I gave her a big hug and told her, "Yes. That is exactly what you should say."
I won't lie. My heart is still a little sick over it. The thought that my precious, beautiful child is already struggling with a situation like this in 2nd grade.... (Well... I don't think 'struggling' is the word. She never really seemed upset, just curious. She is the most optimistic person I've ever met.) But at the same time, I can't put into words how proud I am of that child. She lives every day with her whole heart. She is sincere and real and loving and unconcerned with things I see other little girls already concerned with.
I think about all the mean things I dealt with when I was in school and wish I could shield her from all the yuck in her future. I know I can't do that. But I can keep encouraging her right now to be the little girl God made her to be... the little girl that makes Him proud.
Last night I told her, "Sweetie, other people's opinions don't matter." And she said, "I know, Mama. I just care about what you and Daddy think. Oh, and my teachers. Oh, and for sure God." That's my girl.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. 1 Peter 2:11-12 (The Message)