There are two things that stick around well into adult hood, that would horrify my fourteen year old self.
Yea, sorry to say it, dear teenagers – you will continue to get pimples well into your 30s and beyond. I know. I KNOW. What the actual. Stupid hormones.
The second thing?
You know, those girls who just made your life hell when you were at school? That made your stomach knot up when you walked into a room that they were in? They still exist well into adulthood.
Of course, they don’t always fit the same aesthetic as they did in high school – back then, the mean girls were often the “popular” kids. The pretty ones with all the friends. Nowadays, they are often the ones who were picked on by these same girls when they were are high school. They are women who, for whatever reason, thrive on drama and survive by making themselves the victim. Or, they are simply women who don’t know the effect of their behaviour.
It’s natural to meet people in life who you don’t like. It’s natural that there will be people who don’t like you. It’s part and parcel with growing up – there will always be people who, for whatever reason, don’t gel with you. And that’s okay!
I make my kids well aware that they don’t have to like everyone. But what I also make clear is that they must be nice and kind to everyone.
Which is hard to do, when someone is being less than nice to you. It’s really hard to be the bigger person, when all you want to do it bow to their level and bitch about them to everyone. It’s hard to smile and be in the same room as them, knowing that every single time they walk past you, they will whisper, at a volume only you can hear, something horridly scathing that brings you and all of your anxieties right back to your fourteen year old self at high school. That they will complain and bitch about you to anyone who will listen, whenever you are around. That, despite your best intentions, they will make you cry every time you see them. Just like in high school.
And so, how to teach your kids to be the bigger person, to walk away no matter how shit you feel, to pick your battles and be prepared to raise your hands and say, “I’m done, I’m out. Whatever battle you are fighting, you win”? That, despite your differences, you are trying your darndest to put that aside, for the sake of everyone?
By simply doing. No matter how hard it is, no matter how many tears are shed, you will be the bigger person, for the sake of your kids.
So that, when they are in their 20s, their 30s, they too have the strength to walk away from toxic situations. That they too have the strength to be nice, kind people.
Because that is what makes it all worth it.
You wanna change the world? Raise your kids to be kind, respectful and compassionate. But don’t just tell them to be that way. Show them.