I took the kids on a last-minute surprise summer adventure before school starts. We had a blast soaking up the sun, zooming down water slides, and catching up with friends.
School starts tomorrow and I’m anxious. Anxious. They are super excited and can’t wait for the morning...I’m anxious.
As we put the finishing touches on backpacks, fill water bottles, and check and double check our zipper bags, I’m drawn to pray over my children. But this isn’t a generic prayer for safety or happiness. This is a prayer about rejection.
We cannot control who accepts or rejects us. We can’t control if people like us or not. We can’t be everything for everyone; even if they want us to be.
We can only be who we are called to be. And guess what? Even when you are the truest version of yourself, people still won’t like you.
I make a habit of telling my kids of the times I’ve been rejected. It’s important for them to see me as a whole person - sometimes vulnerable and sometimes not well-liked. Remember the time the internet said I had too much time on my hands and should stop writing?
I told them aaalllll about it.
I was recently blocked on Facebook by someone I’ve known for years.
B-L-O-C-K-E-D. Not unfriended. Blocked. You know, the step you take to stop someone from cyber stalking you?
I get it. I’m not going to be liked by everyone. I will be greatly disliked by some. But that’s not going to stop me from being who I’m supposed to be, saying what I should say, and writing what I need to write.
But this can be really hard for kids.
It’s easy for me because at 44 years old I’ve had a lot of practice. (A lot.) I’ve lived through being iced out at a sleepover. I’ve lived through eating lunch alone in middle school. I’ve lived through public online bashing and targeted blocking. My list of publication rejections is L-O-N-G.
I will continue to share my rejections with them because, well, it’s part of actual life, and they need to see that my path to today wasn’t a straight, fun-filled line. It still isn’t!
They will be rejected, too. Somewhere along they way they will feel it. They will feel the same things we’ve all felt.
And I hate that so much.
As much as I want to inoculate them from it, I know I can’t do that. It’s not my job to keep my kids from struggling - it’s my job to teach them how to deal with the struggle.
So as I sit here today, feeling anxious about my kids heading back to school, I’m choosing to focus on the water slides we enjoyed yesterday.
They are a great reminder of where I am currently as a parent: It’s fast, fun, you can’t always see where you’re going; you may get a little nauseous. You might suddenly feel like this was all a really bad idea. But then you get through it and realize that the experience was actually amazing and totally worth it so you get right back in line to do it all over again.
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