Okay so I just want to start with a little warning.....This issue is very personal to me and it has ticked me off. So if part of this blog is incoherent ramblings, it's because I'm still very emotional about things.
I don't understand why teenage girls have to be so mean to other girls. It makes no sense to me why they harass other girls....actually terrorize other girls simply because they don't like something about them. Today, I actually felt hatred and rage towards a certain group of teenagers.
My daughter is a freshman in high school and throughout most of this school year she has dealt with mean girls, frenemies and cyberbullies. Now I know high school is full of drama...especially when it comes to girls. Most of the issues have to do with girls claiming ownership over some boy....who may or may not be her current boyfriend. Many of the situations from this school year were resolved with long talks and apologies among friends.
My daughter has made some really good friends that have been there to hang out with and support her when issues come up. But today, my husband and I had to get the school administration involved.
I was shopping for a grad party and I get a text from my daughter asking if she could come home. School is not her favorite thing so that is not an uncommon request. However today, when I asked her why she wanted to come home, she shared with me that an issue from about 3 weeks ago was becoming a problem again.
There is a girl who has it out for my daughter because of a simple text conversation that she had with a boy. This girl and her friends threatened my daughter and called her all kinds of names.....most of this was through social media apps. My daughter stood her ground and told the girls that she had done nothing wrong and they needed to back off. So then they started saying things to her at school. It kinda blew over in just a couple of days, so we just chalked it up to another episode of "girl drama".
Fast forward to today......she gets a message from a boy full of expletives threatening her and telling her that she's going to get beat up for what she did to this girl. When she forwarded those messages to me, and I read them something flipped in my brain and I was livid!!!! I know the poor young guy at Staples thought I was crazy when I rushed to the counter to pay for my items. Especially when my daughter calls me and tells me that the girls are bullying her again. All this poor cashier hears me say is, "Just go to the guidance counselor. I'm on my way and I will take care of it."
I was so full of rage and anger. I tried to pray as I was driving but I couldn't. My anger was boiling and I was physically shaking. I called the school office and told them what was going on and that I was on my way. I then called my husband and he met me at the school. We all three met with the assistant principal and the guidance counselor to discuss ways to resolve this issue.
The school administration is being very proactive and are taking steps to keep this group of students away from my daughter. Now I'm not naïve and I know that the school is limited in what they can do. I've also read several articles and books and reports about means girls and cyberbullying. They make it sound so easy to fix. But it is not easy. There is not a quick and easy fix to this problem. There's no magic formula to make it all go away.
I personally hate drama. I loathe it. I have always hated it. I try to avoid it as much as possible. (Which is why youth ministry is definitely NOT my calling.) It's just so illogical and pointless most of the time. But for the sake of the relationship with my teenage daughter, I try to "help" her sort through the web of drama that is her life.
I consider myself a good mom. I'm involved in my kids lives and I try to listen to as many of their stories as possible. We have lots of conversations about social media and being careful who you "talk" to and what you say. We talk about what it means to be a good friend and what to look for in a friend. But this area of motherhood makes me feel powerless, helpless and ignorant.
I wonder if these parents know what their kids are doing to other kids? Do they have a clue how mean and hateful their children are? Do they care? Are they involved at all in their kid's live?
Do you know what your children are doing on social media?? Could your child be a mean girl?? or a cyber bully? Are they harassing other kids and making someone's life miserable?
Maybe they're a victim of cyberbullying and they're afraid to tell you?? My daughter didn't want us to tell the school administration because she was afraid it would make things worse. And the sad thing is that it might just do that. But in order to stop it you have to speak up and tell the counselor or administration.
I don't know what tomorrow will be like at school for my daughter. I do know that I will be praying for strength and courage for her. I will be praying that God will give her confidence to go through her day with her head held high. I will be praying that the bullies leave her alone.
I could add the churchy answer that I also want her to be kind and show theme love no matter what they do. But to be honest.....I'm not in that place right now. I don't want her to extend kindness or show the love of Jesus to these bullies. I want them to be punished. I want them to be humiliated. I don't care about their home lives or the "why's" behind what they do. I want them to understand fully that their actions are hurtful.
I know God already knows how I feel and he's ok with me verbalizing what's in my heart. Nothing I've written here is a shock to him. I know that He loves me and He will allow me to process the anger and rage. And He will calm my emotions and help me see these bullies through His eyes.
But most importantly He will help me be the momma that my daughter needs.
Today I am setting out on a new adventure that I didn't even know was possible.
In January of 2015, I started a new part-time job with the airlines. I had worked part-time off and on as an independent contractor for many years but it wasn't enough. I needed something that was steady income to pay the bills. Finances had been extremely tight and I was so ready for that to change.
When I started my job at the airport, I thought it might just be temporary until hubby's new non-profit got up and running. However after just a few months I felt like I was where God wanted me to be. God was changing my plans. Maybe he was going to use this ordinary mom and her ordinary job for something bigger.
Earlier this year, I found out about an organization called Airline Ambassadors International. They are a non profit group started by airline employees to use flight benefits to escort children for life changing medical care, hand deliver humanitarian aid to children in orphanages, clinics and remote communities, and advocate and educate on child protection and human trafficking awareness.
Tomorrow I will make my first trip as a medical escort as a member of Airline Ambassadors International. I will be escorting a 15 yr old girl home to Honduras. She was in the states receiving a prosthetic leg. I am excited about this trip and also a little nervous.
Some may wonder why I'm doing it. Why leave your family and take days off to escort someone you don't know to a place you've never been? I've asked myself that same question over the past couple of weeks. And here's what I keep coming back to: God tells me to do it.
He says to in 1 John 3:17, "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" Also in Colossians 3:23 it says, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men."
To me this is a simple way of using the benefits of my crazy job for the glory of God. There is a young girl who has a need and I have the "goods" necessary to meet that need. So tomorrow morning at 4 am, I will meet this teenage girl and her host family at the airport so we can begin her journey home. (And of course God has a sense of humor, because my first assignment is a girl the same age as my own daughter. The daughter that has me on an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions. )
My prayer is that this will be the first of many opportunities with Airline Ambassadors International.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.