One of my biggest concerns about moving to Oklahoma was how it would affect my daughter. A native Floridian, born and raised (until now), Elle was reluctant to accept the idea that change is good, that change can be healthy and inspiring. My husband and I are both products of military families, the kind that moved around every three to four years, so we were used to never staying in one spot for too long.
I am really impressed by Elle’s willingness to figure this whole thing out, this whole thing being that she’s the new girl. It isn’t as though the kids here have refused to accept her as the new girl, but they have learned that she is not like them – in how she thinks, in what she believes to be a good way to view the world and have compassion for the different kinds of people who live in it (including the kids here, who have unfortunately been making her life really difficult as of late, simply because she is more open-minded than most of them).
Never have I felt so much frustration toward a group of children before. Oh, and even more frustration toward their parents, the ones who brought their children up to think that it’s okay to taunt someone who doesn’t think the same things they have been taught to think. Is it so hard to accept someone for who they are, for what they believe? Is it so hard to teach our children to do the same?
I came across this photograph the other day of Elle and her best friend back in Florida. This was a nice day. They were both reluctant to take a trip with me to the woods, even though it was a beautiful day smack dab in the middle of March. The sun was out and the air was warm and sweet with the smells of early spring. The girls ran up and down the nature trails and discovered creeks and tiny waterfalls. We found a water moccasin that day, too. This revved them up a bit, got them excited about what other adventures could be had out there in the woods. By the end of our walk, I found them sitting on a little wooden bridge, dangling their feet above the water and telling me what a good time they had. Yes, it was much better than sitting in the house all day, wasn’t it?
Change is good. Seeing things from a different perspective is good. Knowing yourself well enough as a 10-year old to stand your ground is damn good, too. I did not know how to stick up for myself at her age. I don’t even know that I believed so strongly in letting people live their lives the way they want to, not as strongly as she does.
And now she has been singled out by her peers at school and has become the one who is pointed at and mocked and ridiculed. Why? Not because she has criticized anyone else, not because she has rejected anyone else, but because she believes in being open-minded and accepting of everyone else.
Oh, the horror.