But I think it is important. So here goes....
I have a beautiful family. We are raising them in the way we feel is best. That means we do things differently than a lot of people. I can handle the snide remarks and ignorance of others (it actually makes me feel sorry for their ignorance). My children, however, should not be bullied by adults who think differently than I do. It is not the kids' fault that we are raising them differently than the mainstream. And I am sick of it. If you have something to say....say it to ME, without my children listening. I can handle your ignorance....laugh at it most of the time and it doesn't change who I am as a person....I've got broad shoulders, bring it on....but leave my kids out of it.
We have a beautiful daughter who looks differently from us. If you know me or read this blog you will see her picture. We have 3 handsome boys as well. We homeschool. Pop, candy, and processed foods are not a part of our everyday diet.
Words are powerful powerful things. In church on Sunday, the sermon was about the power of our words. We have the capability to injure or to heal. To tear down or build up. And we don't need to be physically fit or have any training....all we have to do is open our mouths. And we are all so good at that!
People say/ask the most ignorant things when you have a "mismatched" homeschool family. Its like because we are different, we are clearly open to anyone's opinion. And we need to hear it because clearly we are weakminded idiots who are ruining the next generation. Most of the time, I can let this roll like water off a ducks back....but my kids are going to be effected. I TRY to answer kindly because they are learning from me how to handle the ignorance and rudeness of others. I'm not sure how much longer that is going to last. (consider that fair warning)
To most people, (clearly not all because these are things that have been said to us in front of our children) these statements are clearly over the line.
"How much did she cost?" (WTH! For the record, I was rendered speechless in my utter fury over this one and typing it out makes me cry. I could have killed this man with my bare hands if I wasn't totally and utterly shocked by his nerve. This was also not a person we know personally....and I may have cost him his job once my power of speech returned....I kinda hope I did)
"Is that one adopted?" Seriously, "that one." she is a girl and the proper pronoun is "she." Again random stranger in Pizza Hut.
"Is your new husband black?" Nice. very nice.
Moving on to homeschooling (they make me want to hurt people less)....
"What about socialization?" oh Lord have mercy.
"You know you can't school them thru high school" Well, thank you for your compliment to my intelliegence.
"But they will miss sports and prom" really? They do sports not related to the school system where their last name doesn't matter and I went to prom 3 times....unimpressed....there are also other options within the homeschool community.
and the list continues....forever and ever.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
– Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV)
Two words in these verses jump out at me. "reckless" and "careless" These are the words that "pierce like swords" and by which we will be "justified" or "condemned."
So here we think about the questions and statements made that are seemingly ambiguous but that will seep into the fiber of my children's lives because that's what words do....they seep in and change who we are as people. Some might use the words "self fulfilling prophecy"...but what if the words don't come from within? What if they come from well-meaning curious people who REALLY don't mean to be offensive?
"why didn't you do her hair this morning?" after we spent an hour of crying while trying to comb it because it is so different from mine and we are struggling with scalp issues that are causing pain and itching so it can't be in braids for a bit.
"is she hiding things in her hair?" seriously, people.
or maybe just petting her head without permission....she is not a puppy or a doll and that is her head that you are touching without permission. (I might start petting people back....it worked when people touched my pregnant belly without asking)
---can you tell we've had some hair issues recently---
"is she black?" (whispering the word black). Folks it is not a secret. Nor is it shameful. She is black. And you are short/tall, thin/heavy, wear glasses/or don't and have straight/curly/long/short hair. However, if you think it is something that needs to be whispered then maybe you shouldn't ask....like you wouldn't ask "is she stupid?" or "why is she so fat?" of an adult you know within their hearing....even in a whisper.
"Is she yours?" or the more offensive "This one clearly isn't yours" -why yes, as a matter of fact, she is.
"what did you learn in school today?" I don't quiz your kids about their school lessons....don't check up on ours. There is clearly a difference between genuine asking what they are learning about and a quiz. My kids and I are ALL able to tell the difference.
"What a beautiful daughter?" Now this one is really tricky. Sounds like a compliment doesn't it? And it is (intended as one) I get that. And she is beautiful... But there are 3 boys who are sitting here and being looked over like they are nothing.
"I didn't think they were allowed to have any sweets. You are so picky about the food they eat." yes I am. And they are fine with it most of the time. they get plenty (a lot) of treats - I really like to bake especially cookies (with real butter). Thanks for making it clear that you think I feed them too much healthy food....why don't you have another marshmallow and shove the bag at them too making me either let them eat them (and be sick the next day) or be the jerk mom who won't let their kids have any fun....thanks. :/
"You are only _____________." - way to make a kid feel like they aren't enough. That they don't measure up. That they just aren't quite good enough.
These words that we say (and I am SURE I am guilty of saying things that make people feel bad....I am not saying that I don't stick my foot in my mouth occasionally) seep into the fiber of their childhood....of their memories...of who they are. I am not a proponent of keeping everything fair and that one child might actually deserve praise when another doesn't (As an example, I do not think that trophies for participating is a good idea at all). I am saying like the proverb says that we need to be careful with our reckless and careless speech...because those are the words that hurt most.
Even from these "harmless jokes" or oversights....my daughter learns that her hair is ugly even after we work on it all morning. She learns that it is a joke and not as nice as everyone else's around her because clearly her hair is vastly different from others. She learns that people can say whatever they want about her because she looks different. She learns that because she is different she doesn't have the right to her own space and people can touch and pet her as they wish and without her permission. My kids learn that their education is sub-par because they aren't in a classroom (I have strong opinions on this that I will not expound upon today). And the boys learn that because they aren't different they are easily looked over and not noticed. And my kids think they are missing out on things because of the statements made around them.
Of course, as their mother (and dad), we do all that we can to counteract these statements....but it is a big world and full of a lot of stupid....so it is a big big job.