I remember my year in 5th grade quite well. Mr. Whitley was my teacher. He was one of three male teachers in the school, but the only African-American. I remember he was pretty darn ‘fly’ with a big ole' Afro and bell bottom pants.
As for me, I wasn't an outcast by any means, but in my mind, I certainly stood out, and not in a good way. I was a shy, lanky, tall girl, a head taller than the other girls in my class. Even worse, I was so skinny that my knees looked like door knobs halfway down my legs. Ironic, isn't it? Little did I know THAT wouldn't be a problem 40 years down the road. Heh.
I was always so self-conscience of how I looked. I studied hard to try to make up for it. I wasn't very social, and although I was never picked on, I was never part of the cliques formed by the cool girls.
Now that I have yet another daughter going into 4th grade, I think about the peer pressures and how at times, she reminds me a lot of me.
Me, the adult.
Hmm. If peer pressure gets to me now, at this age, that makes me so not ‘smarter than a fifth grader’.
For a few months now, especially since I began working outside of the home, I've been struggling with and wondering what people around me think of me, what they think of what I wear, how I talk, what I eat. Maybe I'm being presumptuous, and no one thinks anything at all, but the thoughts are there.
The funny thing is, that it doesn't really matter. I know that. I’m very comfortable with ‘me’. I'm a pretty well-rounded, confident woman. Yet, the nagging thought remains.
I think sometimes people unintentionally make one feel that way. But it’s not something I can blame on someone else. As adults, self esteem is created by one’s SELF, not by those feeding it. Or it should be anyway. I digress.
Even as that skinny, little 5th grade girl, I never enjoyed being part of the cliques. I thought they were self-centered and looked down upon people. It was mean. Almost 40 years later, I still feel the same way. It's a milder form of bullying, even through silence.
One of my boys went to school with a haircut that he wanted. A few kids laughed at him. He said he shrugged it off, that it didn’t matter. I know it did.
You see, we hide behind the ‘It doesn't matter”, yet it does. It shouldn't. But, it does.
Why is the opinion of others so important to us in this world? We all know kids can be cruel, and adults can be even crueler sometimes.
It makes me sad. This type of peer pressure that pushes so hard to get the approval of others, for the smallest of things, is unhealthy. It is unhealthy to the body, to the heart, but mostly, to the soul.
Seeking the approval of others, quickly turns into seeking acceptance. They go hand in hand. And when we don’t receive that acceptance, we feel rejected and shaken.
There is and will never be a love like the love we receive from Jesus. When we seek His acceptance, He reaches out to us and shows us that we don’t need to seek approval. We need to seek Him. He’s already accepted us. Fat, skinny, mean, nice, ugly, pretty, popular or an outcast. He doesn’t care. He wants our hearts. Yet, during times of trials, it is so easy to turn away from Him, when we should be RUNNING TOWARDS Him.
It’s interesting how often my blog posts sway so far from what I had in mind when I first sit down to write. This was to be a funny, make-fun-of-myself-to-make-me-feel-better kinda post, and God turned it into a “you need me and no one else” type of deal.
He often slaps me in the face with truth!
Dang! I hate it when He does that. But, I am so glad He does.
As for my babies, this Mama is gonna make sure she does everything possible for her kids to see their self worth, not according to what the world thinks, but according to what God thinks about them.
In His eyes, they are a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10),
Oh, and in this Mama's eyes, they are also!
Be blessed, friends.