Role Modeling

Growing up, I didn’t have the most favorable circumstances. At 9 years old, I was a chubby bookworm who was new to town, living in a single -parent household. I was quiet and easily persuadable, constantly second-guessing myself and feeling misunderstood. 

I yearned for friends and acceptance and kindness, things I had just realized weren’t a reality for me in my new school. 

Picture me as the kind of child I just described. Add to Her some dorky clothes, wire-framed glasses, and a stack of books practically superglued to her hands. Oh, and she is one of the few black kids in her school. No, I didn’t say class. I said school

Of course I was bullied.

You know what helped me to come into my own and become less discouraged? It was women who were older than me who took an interest in me and took time to get to know me. They saw potential and beauty in me though it was difficult for me to see it in myself. They took me to the city fair when my mom was at work, they let me enjoy their pets when our apartment didn’t allow them, they shared with me their stories when I was dealing with things I couldn’t fully understand. They were the good example I needed and the close friends I yearned. 

Granted, I was still bullied in school. I’m not at all saying that their presence and companionship somehow made me less of a dork. I still made straight A’s, I still defended the Special Ed. kid everyone always tormented, and I still looked just as special as he did probably. 

    

It took time for me to completely come into my own, to really know who I am and who I’m not. To be completely honest, I didn’t fully start to understand who I really am until I moved to New Orleans and had to make decisions for myself. But that is just a part of growing up. 

You won’t know who you are at 9 years old. You won’t at 13 years old either. Few know who they are at 16. Add roadblocks and temptations to the equation and it gets even harder. But in all honesty, I know that the time I spent with these “special friends” from age 9 to 18 shaped me to be a better person. 

All of us can choose to be a significant part of a young person’s life in this manner. 

Be there. Show them what life can be like if you live it in the right manner. Teach them that life goes on though today was bad or this month or this year. Assist them in working through their problems. Share with them your journey, your memories, your mistakes. Be their friend.

This world isn’t getting any better. Think about the issues and struggles you faced when you were young. Multiply it by 10. Young ones have it hard. Some of them have to overcome adult-sized problems. We all have the power to alleviate some of the pressure and stress these kids have to go through. It just calls for a little effort and initiative.  

 

4 thoughts on “Role Modeling

  1. Sea says:

    Wow, that story brought tears to my eyes, just didn’t know you went through all that
    I prayed when y’all left that you’d be in a place that would make u happy kids, glad you had your cousins close by and even though you went through the loneliness and not being excepted, jah sent you what you needed to endure, wonderful sisters who took interest in you and helped you believe in yourself, look at what you’ve evolved into, a beautiful butter fly(you were never what those kids tried to make you think you were, sorry to say cruel kids become cruel adults) you became a adjusted adult with goals and a direction,look at all the true friends you have in your life even a very special true friend.no that doesn’t change the painful things of the past but you became a loveable caring adult with sooo many people proud of you, I’m just one. I can relate to a little of what you said I did get bullied a few times as a kid because I was quiet and looked defensive,thats when you get picked on….kids think you’re scary,it wasn’t a race thing, tho I grew up in that era,but army kids grow up around other races and cultures, my problem was I was very quiet and even teachers mis understood me,some thought,oh she’s studious and had a few thought and told me I was arrogant…didn’t bother anyone came to class,did my wk didn’t talk much…yeah that’s arrogance LOL and no I didn’t make straight A’s…just average, bad in math…hated Math problems……loved History and some Science….Average…F’s weren’t tolerated…a D maybe in Math…..sometimes depending on type of Math and if I really tried my best……..My Mom had no problem taking off wk going to your school to discuss a bad report card,she would talk w teacher and determine if we were lazy not applying our self or ,didnt understand wk then she’d work with teacher on how to help us at home to improve our grades. Always told us she didn’t have genius kids but no dummies either,she knew our potential and expected us to live up to it.

    Hey I’ve been mis understood most my life and I’m a older lady but it’s ok because I had people see through that quiet exterior and we got to know each other..true close friends…sisters,spiritial and physical but w other parents,we encourage each other being there for each other thru thick and thin, sometimes. Kindly….readjusting each others attitudes to reflect what it’s suppose to be….how valuable their friendship is! All our friends we love but there’s always some you develop closer relationships and bonds like David and Jonathan in the bible. Luv ya!!

  2. laineyloveslife says:

    This is very similar to a concept I learned many years ago – the inner child. The book says that everything that we are now, our attitude, beliefs, perspective, whether positive or negative, are somehow due to or affected by events that happened when we were young. Back then, we didn’t know yet what we’re going to become but we can be certain that our past will affect our life direction. We, as adults, are role models. We have the power to influence young minds. Let’s be kind and loving. This world needs more kind people. Also, when we encounter difficult people, let’s try to understand their inner child. There must be a reason why they act that way and the best thing to do is to be kind to them.

    I’m sorry you’ve been bullied as a child but I’m also proud of what you have become. We always have to be strong because we have responsibilities to fulfill in God’s kingdom. Keep inspiring others! 😘

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