There is this Will Smith lyric I quote pretty often. My kids know it. Everyone knows it. I wholeheartedly believe it.
Recently, I had the pleasure of being at Scout camp with my son for a few days. In that time, I gained a lot of perspective on some things, but one of the most interesting things I got to do was be reminded of just how kind and loving my son is.
There were several instances when someone was rude to him or left him out or whatever. He did not typically respond in anger. He did not respond by being rude back. He almost every time responded with kindness and love. And I thought, wow. This child. One time, he got pretty upset. I was not with him, but it was reported to me by him and one of the other children’s grandpa. We were talking about it and processing it, and during this, he quoted the Will Smith quote. He also had a lot of grace for both the other kid and himself, and I was just so impressed with him.
Later that week, I had the opportunity to come in contact with someone who has been consistently rude to me and my children, as well as my husband. The rudeness had culminated in two recent incidents in which she was more than rude, she had been mean to me. I decided to ignore her. Like, not just ignore her rudeness, but ignore her completely. When she approached, I purposely engaged myself in other activities. With my children. As the time went on that she was standing there, I felt icky inside. It did not feel good to ignore her.
When I was going through my divorce, I was devastated and sad and angry and grieving. There were some times when I said or did things that didn’t feel good- I was acting on these emotions. I started to learn how important it is to decide who you’re going to be and act accordingly. I was learning through that experience who I was at my core, and that I am a kind person. (I have a cousin who says I’m not kind and there’s nuance to this, but that’s another show….) And I need to protect my energy so that I can act in alignment with who I am. I do not do this perfectly, but I consider it often.
Standing there, ignoring her, I did not feel good. My kids were there and watching. I thought, my son was such a beautiful example of this at camp- I have to do this for my kids! And so I broke the ice and waved. That simple act made me feel so much better.
I don’t have to let myself be walked on or treated poorly, but I also don’t have to be rude or mean. That’s exactly the lesson I’ve tried to teach my kids, and this week, that’s one of the lessons my boy taught me. I’m so grateful for his example and so proud of him.