Something happened this year at school with my daughter that got me thinking about respect among women and girls. The simple concept of respect is the admiration for someone’s abilities, qualities or achievements. There seems to be a lack of respect across all ages of women. This became so apparent with a recent experience our oldest had at school.
Here’s what happened
We are experiencing some friendship drama this year. Raising two girls it’s bound to happen at some point, but I really hoped it would have waited until upper elementary and not kindergarten.
I got a message from my oldest’s teacher, “Another girl cut your daughter’s hair in class today, it’s not noticeable. Just wanted to let you know.” My first reaction was of course, “What did she do to the girl?” I know my daughter isn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination, and I do my best to make sure she knows to be kind. Her teacher responded to me, “Well they don’t get along and your daughter was telling the boys to push her after she pushed one of them.”
Well, ok, she was helping another soul learn to stand up for himself.
Ok, not ok.
My daughter saw an injustice and was trying to help this boy stand up for himself; for that I am proud of her, but there has to be a way to teach her how to approach it differently other than “payback is a b****” type attitude.
The next day the assistant principal met with each one of them to discuss what the major issue is between my daughter and this other girl. Turns out this other girl is holding onto a grudge from August. My daughter scratched her with one of those tiny plastic spider rings and this other girl has been trying to pay her back.
We are talking about 5 and 6 years old girls holding months long grudges already? For the love of…
Kind vs Respect
Something my step-mom said changed my whole perspective about raising our girls to be kind. She explained to me. “Yes, I believe we need to be kind to one another; however, with that kindness needs to be a level of respect too. We don’t have to be best friends with everyone we meet. We don’t have to like everyone in our classes or groups. We do need to be respectful to each other.”
Why is it that we women tend to just hate automatically then just have a kind regard for someone who does something different than us? The sleep training versus the on demand. The vax versus anti/delayed vax. Breastfed versus formula. Stilleto versus tennis shoes.
And the biggest question of all of this: Why does it have to start so young?!
I know I am not perfect in this area, but after this experience with my oldest I know I want to change the way I approach raising my girls up kind. I want to raise them with respect towards others (not just girls). I want to raise them up with an ideology that we can kindly respect differences. I want to make sure they know that just because we have differences with others it doesn’t mean we hate them. It doesn’t mean we are blatantly rude or disrespectful because of differences in beliefs, political affiliation, or parenting practices.
Will this be easy? Nope.
This year though I am going to do my best to live by example after a year of pain, hate, and cancelations. I am going to raise ‘em up to always interact with respect.