Choose Kind

wonder

“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” ~R.J. Palacio Wonder

Laying in my bed discussing my son’s first day of school, I asked him who he was sitting by in class.

“Well, (name I can’t remember now) and this other (long pause) kid.”

“Why the long pause?” I asked.

“Well, she’s a girl, but she thinks she’s a boy. It’s weird.”

I probed him to tell me more.

“So, she dresses like a boy, and cuts her hair like a boy, but she’s a girl. When the teacher called the roster, she answered, but told everyone she wanted to be called by a different name…a boy’s name.”

Now this was certainly uncharted territory. Before me was an opportunity to teach an extremely important life lesson, but how would I convey it? I didn’t think I had the words.

“First of all, let’s not use the word ‘weird.’ Maybe unusual would be better.”

“Unusual might be nicer, but weird is more accurate,” he insisted. Sigh.

He proceeded to have lots of questions, all of which I felt inadequate to answer. I told him honestly when I didn’t know how to respond, and answered the ones I could.

I concluded with this: “Here is the bottom line. Sometimes boys feel inside like they are girls, and girls feel like they are boys. I don’t know why this happens, and there are a lot of theories. I know for you it’s super hard to understand. Think of how confusing that would be, to not feel quite right in your own skin. I know it’s unusual, but God created everyone special and we need to treat them like that.”

After I left his room, I decided to turn to Google to see if it had any suggestions. I typed, “How to talk to your child about transgender” into the search box. People, this is an important question in our day and age! The results were seriously lacking. The first result was an article by Focus on the Family that made my toes curl, suggesting I teach him about sin and how this girl needs saving. I just don’t think this is what my 10-year-old needs to hear. How about how this child needs loved???? Nothing else was remotely helpful.

Parents, we are living in a time that has never existed before in our country. A time where things that were previously unacceptable have become acceptable. Regardless of our personal feelings about these matters, the individuals that fall into these categories need to feel worthy and purposeful. It is a basic human need, and one that we should honor.

The theme for my son’s grade this year is from the book Wonder: Choose Kind. How appropriate, and what a critical life lesson. “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” – Dr Wayne W. Dyer included in Wonder. There are a lot of choices we can make, but kindness can rarely be the wrong one.

One of my friends posted this quote from the book Spirituality of Gratitude by Joshua Kang on Facebook this morning: “Likewise, we must see our brothers and sisters with respect in order to recognize God’s glory reflected on their faces. In The Weight of Glory, CS Lewis reminds us, “There are no ordinary people.” Imagine what we might miss out on when we simply mark someone off as weird.

I am anxious to see my son’s growth in this area of his life this school year. I’m grateful he has an opportunity to exercise this concept from the very first day. And most importantly, I hope this sweet student feels seen and worthy of others’ kindness this year.

Please, share any advice or thoughts you have. Parenting is so hard, especially when it comes to topics that are relatively new.

I also highly encourage you to read Wonder. It’s one of my all time favorites, and I would recommend reading it with your child (maybe 9 and up)  in order to discuss it together.

Blessings,

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7 thoughts on “Choose Kind

  1. Jesus teaches us to love our neighbor. We are all neighbors on this beautiful planet He created. He also asks us not to judge each other. Judgement is up to Him. Those teachings are profound, simple & true. You are on the right track Amy! 😍. We are all uniquely & beautifully made. Love & kindness always trump judgement & hate. ❤️

  2. As someone who has a close friend with a 5 year old daughter in a similar place, I pray her classmates have parents like you teaching their kids to be kind and love in all circumstances and not just when it’s comfortable and what they’re used to. Thank you for sharing these words.

    • Saying a prayer right now for your friend to be surrounded by wise people to help her on a difficult journey. It’s a difficult concept for many adults to understand, let alone kids. My conversation was hard enough. I have no idea where I would begin if she were my daughter. Thanks for reading!

  3. I also read Wonder this summer and chose it as my theme for the library. Great book! Being kinder than necessary is such a great precept for life, especially in this new world we live in. The trick is going to be loving the sinner but not the sin, and unfortunately the sinner doesn’t tend to feel loved unless we accept (or even celebrate) the sin. Its a sticky spot to sit in, so… I will be kinder than necessary! Because my sin is no different than the sin of another and we are all loved deeply by God.

  4. I find many verses from Proverbs come to mind. Also the way Jesus interacted with the people who were considered morally dirty in society. The way he was with the unclean from diseases.
    I’ve no idea what I’d do in a situation like this of a child questioning their identity in regards to gender.
    This world makes it harder. Recently a store chain is going away with gender identification in toys, bedding, and other areas. I wonder if that actually may lead to more confusion. I’m not naive to think my kids may not deal with this at the Christian school they attend. I can trust the staff will help the students show love in the same manner Christ does.
    The bible says we aren’t to be like the world. Which means showing love to the hurting. The world condemns, cries for tolerance. Yet offers nothing, but condemnation. I can imagine as you prayed for this girl. That Jesus was holding her, maybe gently stroking her hair. Marveling at what his Heavenly Father made. God created all of us with a plan. My heart goes out to the parents of this girl. As excited as I am with coming birth of my long awaited, and prayed for little girl. Imagine how her parents may be struggling with how to handle this?
    Amy thank you for sharing this.

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