We were sitting on the edge of my bed when she looked at me with those big hazel eyes, “Mama, why do people hate me?”
Taken aback, I looked at her intently and asked, “I doubt anyone could hate you. Why do you think that?”
And then she told me. The whispers, the sneers, and then a little girl, someone else’s precious love, called my girl a “bitch.”
School. Mean girls. Ugh.
I thought a moment, trying to decide how I was going to explain the truths of this sometimes hateful world to a very wounded, raw little girl who wants nothing more than to love and be loved back.
Instead, I asked her what she’d like to drink. She looked at me for a minute like I’d lost my mind and half-annoyed that I wasn’t staying on task. “Tea,” she said. Then, I proceeded to ask her four siblings, who all gave different answers. I asked her if she was SURE she didn’t want milk. She grimaced. I asked her if the milk was bad, if it had spoiled. She said, “No. I just don’t like it.”
“People are kind of like that, too.” I said. She looked at me intently, trying to make sense of what I was saying. “We all like different things,” I told her, “Sometimes we even like things in small quantities while other times we can drink something else all day long. Just because you don’t want to drink the milk, it doesn’t mean there’s anything WRONG with the milk. It just means it’s not your choice of beverage. Sometimes our reactions to things we don’t like (like that face you just made) are more exaggerated ways of just saying, ‘It’s not my thing.’ But, the thing with tastes is that sometimes they change. We change.”
You see, we are all made so very different. Unique. And, God made us that way on purpose. With that, we also all have preferences in friendships and behaviors. Some people, we just want to be around more than others. –Not necessarily because of who that person is but because of who WE are and our “tastes” or preferences. Just like tea or milk or Mr. Pibb (my personal least favorite), we will be loved by some and disliked by some. And, that’s OKAY! It’s up to us to make sure we aren’t “spoiled” and that it’s not our behaviors or attitudes that’s to blame, but beyond that, we can’t expect to be everyone’s “favorite drink.”
But, can we please refrain from calling drinks we don’t like ugly names like “bitch?”