I began to think about this topic after a conversation I recently had with my brother. We were laughing as we discussed our kids and the way they handle situations at school. I howled as he told me of his son’s self-confidence when confronted with a remark from an unkind child. Rather than accepting the remark his son will simply say “Wow, what’s wrong with him? That was really mean” or “Why are they so mean?” Never once does he think that he deserved the mean remark. He is not wired to take it personally nor is he mean natured. I ABSOLUTELY loved hearing this and wish we all could walk in my nephew’s emotional Teflon coating refusing to allow any junk to stick to us!
After this conversation I began to recall some not so pleasant memories from my childhood and realized that I painfully discovered the fact that people bite when I was fairly young. I’ll never forget the confidence I walked in as I left the security of my home and entered the jungle called school. My parents loved me unconditionally and I was sure of my excellence as most kids are at that age. I knew I had deficiencies however, I was great in spite of them. It was with this greatness that I confidently waved goodbye to my parents and entered the small brick building filled with kids from all walks of life. It was in this small brick building that I got my first of many bites and ouch, did it hurt! I can remember the realization that although I was unconditionally loved by my parents and wonderful in their eyes, I was suddenly vulnerable and somewhat of an easy target for my peers. Unlike my nephew, I took everything personally.
As a parent I wish I could shield my kids from the unkind aspects of our world however, I realize that getting bit it is a part of life. It is what we do with the bite and the aftermath that counts. Do we focus on the bite and allow the bite to grow consuming us with its infectious potential? Do we become angry and bitter? Do we become filled with hate? Do we believe that we deserved the bite? Do we become paralyzed with fear…afraid of future bites? Do we attempt to fly under the bite radar and become invisible? Do we become aggressive? Do we become passive? Do we bite others before getting bit? Oh man, there are so many reactions that one could have and I’ve probably tried them all! However, as I age and continue to experience the nastiness humans are capable of, I have found freedom in only one response to the ugliness. As trivial as this may sound the response that brings true freedom is forgiveness. We must give these individuals a gift that they do not deserve…the gift of forgiveness. Freely we have received, freely we must give. We need to move past the remark or action. We cannot dwell on them and replay the scenario in our minds. We need to let the poison roll off of us as we refuse to allow it to take root in our lives and drive on, no looking back.
I think my nephew is onto something and the next time my family or I am faced with biting people we will simply laugh and say “Wow, what’s wrong with them?!” People bite but we do not have to be biting people.