Embrace Your Teenager's Perspective - It May Be Better Than Yours
The wisdom young souls sometimes proffer are astoundingly inspirational. Here's a tale of my 13 year old daughter managing school bullying...
Sometimes our children are the role models we need. My daughter has astounded me recently. Truly blown me away. She’s stoic, compassionate, kind, brave and rational. She’s 13. Can I at 40 emulate this? I’m not sure. She’s been brutally forced to face her deepest strengths at a time when most are working out their most adventurous backflip off the climbing frame.
Let's start with a story...
My daughter lay face down on her bed, her diminutive body shaking with sobs. Thirteen years old and crushed, she silently willed the world around her to dissolve. I perched on the duvet alongside her, stroking her quivering back, tortured with the maternal plight of wanting to absorb her pain. On she wept, releasing the pent-up anxiety and sadness having endured another school day at the hands of destructive bullies. Her public stoicism evaporated, melting into a virulent stream of tears, as she embraced the privacy of her bedroom.
Then a stillness came.
She flipped over suddenly and sat up, locking eyes with me, tears halting. Her crumpled physique gained a straight-backed defiance and she announced “I feel so sorry for them. They are wasting their lives on me. They can’t ever get today back and they’ve spent it finding ways to humiliate me. I feel so sorry for them. I can’t also waste my day. I’m not going to cry any more Mummy. I’m not going to think about this anymore. I’m going to send them loving thoughts and hope they get bored of me really soon.”
If my tenderness towards my daughter had been flowing as I rubbed her back, it gushed in torrents as she spoke these words. The wisdom from such a young soul took my breath away. The inner transformation she’d just experienced. The mental clarity to reframe a situation, to observe her own emotions in a way that enabled her to release the pain and shift into a new state of positive calm. It was a privilege to witness and such beautiful, touching demonstration of the power of self-awareness. I was in awe. She was enlightened.
The Hideous Impact of Bullying
Bullying has hit her world brutally, cruelly and as always with bullying, utterly inexplicably. She’s been victimised and accused of vileness she had no part in. We don’t know why the venom began (from dear friends no less), nor why things escalated so dramatically.
She has been ostracised from an entire year group, with rumours rife, continually abounding and social media attacks on a scale that make me wince.
And yet, despite vomiting before school in the morning through fear, despite weeping in my arms each evening before sleep, she touched me so deeply with wisdom last night.
Deeply Touching Wisdom
Sitting on her bed stroking her luscious, never-ending hair, she sat up and said “I am not going to cry any more over this. I’ve decided that I actually feel really sorry for these girls. The fact that in life you have each moment only once, and only once, means that they are wasting all of these precious moments on vindictive thoughts and actions. That poison must be so bad for their bodies and minds and they can’t ever get this time back. Every moment is so precious. I feel so sad that they are wasting their lives thinking about me. What a waste! I hope they come to realise this soon. In the meantime I will focus on the things that make me happy, like my good, kind friends, my school work and my family and hopefully they’ll grow out of this sad phase soon. I will walk away from them, smile at them and send them love before I sleep each night.”
The spiritual wisdom flowing in one so young fills my heart with joy and pride. She has taken adversity and at her tender age used it as an opportunity for spiritual growth. She’s taken the situation as a lesson rather than a burden.
From that moment on she held her head high, walked with purpose and kindness in her heart and 6 months later I am calmly elated to know the juvenile nastiness has indeed lessened and my daughter seems more loved, happy and serene than ever.
I recommend you look to your teens for wisdom sometimes too. Listen to their life views. They have fresh new perspectives that are sometimes the most vibrant and sparkly of gems.