Friday, June 4, 2010

~A LITTLE REFLECTION and a Tender Lesson on Kindness~

~Hacienda Heights, CA~
1964 - Linda-Bill-Becky

I've always loved this little photograph of me and two of my three siblings back in 1964 (Jenny wasn't born until 1967).  I remember the day so well!  It was a bright, sunny California morning and our father had coaxed the three of us outside in order to snap a picture of us on the new fence he was building for our mother.  Still unpainted at the time(it was eventually white), the sad little fence ended up being a total nightmare of a project (my dad was no carpenter!) and before long was taken down.  In the background you can see his prized 1958 Oldsmobile...  Gosh,he sure did love that car.

But~that's not what this little story is about.

I was about six years old when my older sister Linda and my brother Bill and I posed for the camera. I was in 2nd grade at Bixby Elementary School and truly the goofiest looking kid on the planet.  I was.  I had the mousiest of stringy brown hair and my teeth, which all fell out at the same time, proved to be my undoing well into my high school years.  Because I started kindergarten at the tender age of four I always seemed to be playing "catch-up" with the other kids.  I was smaller than everyone in my class and much to my parent's chagrin I never seemed to be able to keep my big mouth shut.  I was always getting into trouble for yacking it up which didn't make me too popular with my teachers OR my classmates.  When you get busted for talking too much you usually drag somebody else down with you.  I was teased mercilessly for acting like a baby, looking like a baby, crying like a baby, being too short, too loud, too, well... TOO something.

A couple of weeks ago my Miss K spent the weekend at my house and as usual some interesting dialog was exchanged between the two of us.  As I was combing her hair for her very last Monday as a 1st grader we began to chat about how fast she was growing and how absolutely beautiful I thought she was.  Call me partial, biased even, but I do think she is a very pretty little girl.

After a few seconds of her telling me how SHE wanted HER hair fixed her voice began to trail off...

"I don't think I'm beautiful, Nana!

"Some of the kids in my class don't like me!"

Realizing she was feeling the effects of some classmate teasing (bullying?), I asked her to explain her feelings and pressed her a bit for a little more information. 

And so she continued...

"Well(very, very long pause here)...... I don't think they my body or something!  Or maybe it's my face.  Maybe it's my face they don't like!"

I struggled for a second to know how to respond to my only grandchild.  I felt sick inside.  She is, after all, only seven years old and by nature very thin, even a bit waif looking.

My first thought was how little kids can sometimes be so mean...

My second thought was to tell her to beat them all up(trying to be honest here!)...

  After a couple of deep breaths I found I was instantly taken back to the time the photograph at the top was taken.  Straight back to the days when I felt 'less than' and 'not good enough', 'ugly' even.  And how it seemed, at least to me, I would forever be the butt-end of every silly, stupid and mean joke ever told.

~Last Friday at Uncle Mikey's Birthday Party~
Miss K and her Nana

I shared the story of my Miss K with my big sister, Linda, yesterday and she reminded me of something I had long forgotten about...something from our childhood.  Our father, despite the fact he was a crummy fence maker, was good at building a strong foundation of kindness within the hearts of his children.  To his credit all four of us kids eventually gained a heap of self-confidence and learned to ignore tolerate the kids that spewed nastiness from behind their bully-pulpits.  Not all children are so fortunate.

I pray my Miss K will be one of the lucky strong ones who stands firm and emerges from her childhood with her sweet, gentle spirit in tact. 

Wouldn't that be lovely?

Blessings as you teach both by word and example, the things that come forth from our mouths really do matter.

Love to you~


joanne said...

not only will she survive but she will shine with so much love and wonderful insight from her grandma! Great job Rebecca...blessings to you this day and always.

Tania said...

Hi rebbeca, thanks for popping by and leaving a lovely comment. Thanks or sharing that story, i was also picked on and now my son from time to time. I dont think we can ever get through life without these bullys. I tell my son all the time he is wonderful and hope he gains confidence in time. She is a beautiful little girl and im sure with all that love around her she will be fine to.

Karen said...

Miss K is very blessed to have you as her "Nana". Some children are not as fortunate to have an adult to help them understand childhood issues that somehow shape our adult lives in some way.
Have a great weekend!
Ladybug Creek

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately words hurt worse than physical.... When we go thru school & our piers verbally abuse you it is devastating. Heck, it has taken me until a couple of years ago (about 56) to finally let critisism roll off but I still dread it when I think it is coming.
She is a sweetie Nana & all you can do is make sure you are there when she needs someone to talk to.
Have a Great Weekend!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning,
I feel for her. Just curious, but what did you tell her? I love your white and pink things! Bella

Kelly @ Much To Do With Nothing said...

Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for coming by and leaving a sweet comment.
This is such a precious story. I have a 7 year old grand daughter too. She's very tall (the size of most 5th graders) and clumsy. I worry that she might be teased at school. You're right, keeping their hearts in the right place is probably the only way to get them through this. As long as there's no real BULLYING going on.

Unknown said...

Another tearfest reading your blog. Oh Rebecca...YOU and your grandaughter ARE beauteous. Seriously, we are all biased (isn't that the fun of being a parent/grandparent) but she is a beauty and she inherited it from her Nana. Childhood is so hard. People can be so mean. I think you are on the right path...if she knows/feels how loved, beautiful, wanted, talented and smart she is from her family, the bullies will fade into the background.

Have a great day.

(aka the ugly, curly haired, dark, not blue eyed, girl who grew up when Farrah Fawcett and Christy Brinkley blond, blew eyed girls were all the rage).

Lori @ Katies Rose Cottage Designs said...

Oh Rebecca ~ I just have tears in my eyes as I read this post ~ It is so tough to grow up and feel confident ~ Your sweet Miss K is beautiful ~

Sherry from Alabama said...

With a Nana like you, your little one can't help being anything but a gentle, loving, self-confident soul. You are both beautiful! Loved your post. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Dolores said...

Miss K and her Nana certainly do favor. Two beautiful ladies!!!

It's so heartbreaking to see the ones we love, hurt by unkind words, but it was so good that you and Miss K could share this time together. I betcha you're passing on your father's confidence building strength to this precious little girl.
Thanks for sharing this beautiful story!

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Dear Rebecca,
Your story just touches my heart in a million ways. I understand it all too well. Your sweet Miss K is blessed to have you and the bond of closeness for you both to share.

She is a beauty just like her grandma.

XO Celestina Marie

Anonymous said...

What a sweet story you told us, and I can feel the heartache in YOUR heart as you told it. I think your little Miss K. is beautiful, inside as well as out, just like her Nana!! I have never seen you as the little girl you THOUGHT you were!
Our Sarah is 13years old and only 4'6" tall...she is never going to be 5' I don't think, and she gets remarks all the time about being the size of a second-grader! She has a perfect little body that is blooming into a young lady and is a very pretty child...a blonde!...Smart! she also won the A-Honor Roll award and Outstanding English award for seventh graders....
I pray she keeps her positive out-look on everything...she is being raised in a Christain home with loving parents so she is just a typical little new teenager. I pray no one hurts her as she goes into eighth can be mean....God bless all of our little girls as they are growing up.
Hugs to you, my friend..Francy

Rebecca Nelson said...

To: Anonymous/Bella...

First... I told Miss K I understood how she felt and gave her a big hug. I reaffirmed our love for her and again told her she was beautiful on the side and out. I added there will ALWAYS be people during her life whose goal will be to hurt her and take her down. I encouraged her to be kind to others, but not be afraid to stand her ground. I believe with all my heart we teach people how to treat us...

Miss K has wonderful, loving parents (her Momma is a school teacher and her daddy is a programmer) and she has a very supportive network of extended family.

And...just like my parents, grandparents and siblings were there for me, we will all be there for her...

How wonderful the world would be if all children could be so blessed.


Rebecca Nelson said...

To Francy...

I KNOW where your heart is on this one my friend. Sniff. You've lived the other side of the story and know how some things things birthed in childhood can cause us to take a sad turn.

I've learned from your journey. I've shared it with my family. All the more reason to listen...and listen...and love...and and then LISTEN some more.

You bless me, friend.


Mosaic Magpie said...

From the stories you have told about Miss K, she will grow up to be a straight forward strong woman!

Pink Roses and Teacups said...

Oh Rebecca,

What a sweet and touching story. It's wonderful that you and Miss K have such a strong bond, and can share your feelings. She is blessed to have you!


Julie Marie said...

Oooh Rebecca, what a touching post... first off, little Miss K is absolutely beautiful! And I mean that, inside and out... from the stories you have posted about her, I just KNOW it is true... I am always open and honest... so, I liked your idea about telling her to beat them all up!!! But she is a lady, and would not stoop that low (even though it DOES sound like a good idea!)... she has the most wonderful, loving nana in the whole world, and I also just KNOW that her mama, your daughter, is the same way... you are such an inspiration to so many of us, and I know that little Miss K already sees that as well... I cried for her though, having to go through this... I too went through the same type of teasing that you did... even up through high school... I am really terribly shy and being shy seems to encourage bullies... please give little Miss K my love... my heart aches when a child is hurt... if you get a chance will you drop me an email... for some reason, the email I sent you keeps getting rejected... love to you and Miss K... xoxo Julie Marie

stefanie said...

she is soooo lucky to have someone like you!

Barbara Jean said...

This made me cry.
Sending me back to my own 'ugly' years as a child.
maybe we all had them, even the ones that seemed so confident.
Maybe they felt the least confident of all. Maybe they all felt 'less than' too, and the only way to feel better about themselves was to make others seem smaller.
You are blessed you had your Dad to build you up. I only felt unwanted by my parents.

What I came over to say was thanks, for the sweet, though short, comment you left at my place. And it is so indicative of how you were brought up.
You simply said, "You are incredible. YOU ARE!"
It was nothing to do with my work, although I know you love it too, it was just me. A hard thing to take in, but I am trying.

So, another example of God's Love, and perfect timing, and what a wonderful gift you received from your father, that you have passed on to your family and others as well.

I think God has given me the gift of encouragement, and I hope those around me see their value for who they are, not just what they do.

Thank you, for being you, and blessings others.

smiles, and tears,

Barbara Jean

Nancy's Notes said...

Rebecca, that just breaks my heart, bless her little heart. God love her! She is so blessed to have such a wonderful Nana! What a precious photograph, give Miss K a big hug and tell her she is beautiful and that her Nana is too, inside and out.

Hugs and blessings.


A Rose Without A Thorn said...

Dear Rebecca, Your story reminded me of my childhood and how we are viewed by others. I think your little Miss K is very blessed indeed. I also think she is very pretty and in a few years her daddy will be fighting off young beau's with a big stick. My heart goes out to him and the task that lies ahead! Maureen.

Mr. AGP said...

I almost died when you told me about this. I just do not understand why kids feel the need to be so mean. Our Miss K is so sweet and beautiful I can only imagine they are jealous of her.
We will just have to make sure we tell her how beautiful she is every day and pray she never looses that sweet spirit and tender heart.
I also will pray she always knows she can tell us anything and talk to us about anything so these situations never stay bottled up where they can do irreparable damage.
With such a great Nana to talk to I am sure she will always be just fine.

Deanna said...

God bless you and may you have a spendid week-end!

Dearest Rebecca, This is a great post! You have grown into a beautiful woman and your sweet lil Granddaughter is precious. How sweet that she shared her thoughts with her Gramma.

d from homehaven

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Dear Rebecca,
Thank you for sharing your sweet story. I was the brunt of many jokes growing up and I had a very timid nature so I took it to heart. Children really can be cruel. Miss K has a loving family around her which will make all the difference in her life. Blessings to you all.


Rose said...

are there any children never hurt by their peers? the best we can do is to remind them they are loved and although it's hard to love/ accept others who say bad things , we children will always be beautiful and god knows this and wants us to stll care and love back in return. rose

Char said...

Hello Rebecca, growing up in the 50's, I was always the tallest (the last in line) and very skinny (don't I wish that now!!) I think all little girls have body issues at a tender age and it's the saddest thing ever. I don't think time has changed anything, maybe it's worst today than back then. I know you wrap your Nana arms around Miss K and make her feel better. That is all we can do, be there to pick up the pieces of life they must go thru and experience, be it so hard and heart breaking. You probably wish you could go punch someone, anyone that would hurt Miss K. My hurt is sad that she is going thru anything so hurtful, but I bet after you tenderly loved her, she was much better!!! God Bless the love of family and friends, Char

The Pink Rose Cottage said...

Rebecca, such a touching story. Both yours and Miss K's. She going to grow up to be a strong and confident woman. And just as gorgeous as you!!


Sue said...

Rebecca, with you in her life listening, sharing your heart,and being the example that you are she will have no problem.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful memory of your father and his example to you and your siblings.

Thank you for coming by and for taking the time to leave such a sweet comment.

Ginger said...

Kids can be so mean, I remember what I went through as a child, all the girls in my class took turns being mad at one girl and when it was my turn I cried and cried and cried. But my Mom talked to me and made everything better. With such a dedicated, loving grandma, Miss K will grow up stong and proud. It all begins with HOME and roots.

Nelly said...

Hi Rebecca -- Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog. You were lucky to get all that paper from your old employer, but I sure understand what you mean. I have quite a collection of supplies that I always say I'll never get to use in all my life. Glad you found me since it brought your blog to me. It's just beautiful and I'll be back often.

Unknown said...

Rebecca & Steve ~ With the direction/guidance, support & precious sweet words Miss K will grow to be a beautifully balanced young lady. She can credit it all to her wonderful parents & grandparents.

She is absolutely a gorgeous young lady.

This touched me closely ... I was always the tallest kid in my class at 7th grade on ... kids made fun of me with red hair & freckles ... teasing was horribly unkind from grade school on up. Always felt conspicuous ...

Children are truly stinkers sometimes, now & presently. We need to teach our children how to handle these situations with kindness & good hearts, showing them they are fabulous children of God.

I am so sorry that Miss K went thru this, but know well that you will both take her thru each situation in life with grace & love.

Hugs, Marydon

Tara said...

Miss K is a very lucky lady indeed to have such a special Nana and such a special family.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

My sweet friend...your granddaughter is going to grow up remembering her Grandma listening to her. What is being given to her by you and her family will get her through anything!
School days are not easy. Not for any of least not for me. I was self concious to the point of absolute misery. I was comfortable only with my very close friends. Even today, when someone indicates any displeasure, I cringe and suffer.
Little Miss K feels things! I think I would rather her be like she is and not one of the ones doing the "bullying."
Your beautiful little granddaughter has it all! She is so loved and she has you.
Love and hugs,

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

Hello Rebecca~I've been busy with visiting family. Summer weather may not be upon us, but the summer guests are.
I did take time to sneak out of the kitchen (from time to time) to see what you'd been up to.
It's nice to finally have time to chat....
What a very touching post. Miss K has such a loving Nana in her life that is her shinning example of true beauty inside and out. Miss K will rise above and blossom like a rose.

It was such a pleasure to have you stroll by for a visit and especially for leaving me with such a sweet comment. I always enjoy getting to know new friends. Feel free to drop by anytime. The kettle is always on.

Sweet wishes,

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Everyone needs to read this. Your parents did a wonderful job of raising you and I have no doubt that Miss K will grow into a wonderful young lady because of YOU and your sweet family values. You are both very beautiful. :0)

Big TX Hugs,
Angelic Accents

a Bohemian Market said...

Oh Rebecca:
She is beautiful!!! She will grow into her confidence just like her Nana did. I think all of us have gone through an awkward stage when young and through her being happy, sincere, smart, joyful, and just a bit more tolerant than them she will be the belle of the ball. She is radiant and I feel for her pains. bless her little heart.
Be the super Nana that you are!!!
I lived in Lawton a few years back and I know the great estate sales in Norman and surrounding areas : )

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Rebecca, you know what? I think you two are both incredibly beautiful, both inside and out. Lovely is the word that comes to mind, and I hope and pray that those cruel barbs will not wound her little spirit and pray specifically the scripture that says, "No weapon formed against her shall prosper."

When I was little, even though I was one of the taller kids, I took up for the little ones and ones who were being bullied, but I truly believe that all children get picked on. I can remember the older sister of a friend of mine picking on me at any chance she got and just terrorizing her little sister. The latter would come to school with scratches from her mean older sibling fighting with her.

We were all to be on a kiddie show on TV for a group we belonged to, and it was my birthday so I was sitting in the middle of the group in some bleachers. Miss Mean was behind me, and she kept kicking me and two smaller children on either side of me in the seat and back with her foot. You can look at my face and tell how mad I am, and you can look at the two younger children and see how they are right up next to me, clinging to me like a cheap suit. I wanted to turn around and just smack her, but we were on television! LOL!

I can laugh about it now, but when I saw that picture, I wondered why I looked so mad. Then I remembered, her behavior was the reason. She was SO hateful, but she was that way to everyone. She once said something so hateful to me that it still rankles after 45 years. A lifelong friend and I were talking about it recently, and she suggested something for me to say that would get her goat. But I think I will just leave her to the Lord. He knows how to deal with bullies. She must have a miserable life to be so mean to others.

One thing you have to do with a bully is back them down somehow. They will continue to bully as long as you allow them. Pray for wisdom in helping your precious one figure out how to gently disarm them, and pray for favor with the Lord. Pray that the children who are doing this get saved and are convicted about their nasty behavior. There really ought to be lectures and penalties for unacceptable behavior, and I think teachers should stop it cold in its tracks. I have caught myself stepping in when I see something bad happening and seeing a little one get picked on. I act like a referee and blow the whistle, throw down a foul flag, and tell the parents. ;-)

Sending you both warm hugs...



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