Remember the clubs of your childhood years – on play grounds, at slumber parties… clubs like the pink ladies of the famed movie, Grease? Most of us probably remember being in or around cliques and clubs growing up, sometimes enjoying them, and at other times getting our heart-broken as we were kicked out or no longer welcome.
Well, my daughter has officially graduated to club age. She came home from school a few weeks ago, very distraught, because her friends had started a club, and then invited her to join; which made her ecstatic. That is, until one of her “good friends” invited more of Kylie’s friends, and then let her know that club had grown so much that she was no longer allowed in it. She was told there was no room for her.
As she shared her friend woes with me, her heart was broken and my heart sank for her. Momma bear rose up for a minute and I visualized myself marching onto that playground and giving those girls a piece of my mind. Then, as I pondered all the scenarios on how best to handle this first experience with cliques and the heart ache that goes along with not feeling a sense of belonging, it dawned on me what a great teaching moment this was for Kylie.
I took a minute to gather my thoughts, responded sympathetically and with lots of TLC, and then I gave her two great nuggets of info I wish I had learned at her age. The first – we should never give people so much power over our emotions. Their approval, or lack of it, is not our problem. The second, we choose our friends, and how they treat us lets us know how good of a friend they really are. She listened wide-eyed, and I said, “Good friends will never make you feel unvalued or like you don’t belong. Good friends will stand up for you and include you. You have a choice in this – do you want friends who make you feel left out?” I helped her take responsibility for her self, her choice of friends, and the vision she has for her life.
Much of our talk was meant to be between us, but true to 7-year-old nature, she went to school the next day and had a chat with her friend. She said, “My mom said that if you were really my friend, you wouldn’t treat me this way. That you would be nicer to me, and that I deserve friends who want to have me around. And since you don’t, I don’t think it’s a good idea for us to be friends anymore.” Wow! Where was the filter! I asked her how her friend responded, and she said, “Oh that… I am back in the club.” All it took was her valuing herself enough to set healthy boundaries and decide how she should be treated, and to let another friend learn a valuable lesson… What’s done in a moment could have lasting consequences. I am so happy that in this case, it all worked out well.
Don’t you just love those moments when life provides the opportunity to train up a child? For when she is older, she will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).