Judah started school this week. His first day, he was excited, then nervous, then excited again, then scared again. On the drive there, he mentioned how Daniel Tiger was scared about school, too. That seemed to help. When we arrived and walked into his classroom, his fears immediately subsided once he met his nice teachers. He quickly forgot about me and I had to track him down to get a hug goodbye. Which one of us has separation anxiety? Not him.
Even though I'm confident he will do well and have a great time with his teachers and classmates, when I let myself think about it, I'm a little nervous about him being out of my site/control/authority/protection...should I go on?
Protection. That's my main concern. Although Judah is confident and tough, he is pretty sensitive. And, even though most kids seem to get along with him very well, I still worry about how others may treat him. I worry about bullies. Ugh. Bullies.
The other day at Chick-fil-a, a couple of brothers older than Judah were making fun of his name. They asked him his name, and they repeated with "Tooters!? HAHA! Your name is TOOTERS!" They were clearly trying to be mean, but Judah didn't catch on. He just laughed and went along with it. It took all I had in me to stop from thinking of mean names to call them!
Then yesterday, I read a Facebook status update from a friend (Michael) that hit home for me. It was a reminder that we are, unfortunately, going to find bullies everywhere we go - all ages, all sizes, all genders. But, it was an even more important reminder that we should use these moments to teach our kids how to appropriately and lovingly YET daringly deal with a bully.
I asked Michael's permission to share his story:
This morning, I was out for a jog. I'm reclaiming my health...for me, my family...I want to stick around to see my kids (yikes, that's pluralized) play sports, graduate college, get married, have kids of their own. You, my friends, have undoubtedly seen my posts ("Just finished week 5 day 3 of C25K") telling you of my progress. ***side note - the C25K stands for Couch To 5K***
As I'm jogging - around 6:45 am - I'm nearing the end of my 2+ mile jaunt (2 miles in 5 weeks is a huge accomplishment for me) and I'm passing a school bus stop. There are about 10 kids in this pack waiting for their bus. Among them is a rather obese woman who is, despite being among children, smoking a cigarette. I pass no judgement on those who smoke or are overweight. We all have our "things" and I am no different.
However, as I pass them, she begins to yell "You can do it BIG GUY!" But not in a encouraging manner. It was more mockery than anything. Then her (also obese) child starts making a mock-running gesture...trying to get the other kids to laugh. Mirroring her actions towards me.
I had my in-ear headphones in, but they had slipped out a bit, from all the sweat and unhealthiness oozing from my body. I could hear her mocking...no...bullying me from her street corner.
A part of me wanted to stop and walk over to her and her chubby kid, knock the cigarette out of her mouth and give her a piece of my mind. (I can have a fairly intimidating stature...so I know that would have scared the you-know-what out of her) I also thought about flipping her the bird, but then what message would that have sent to the innocent children waiting for their anxiety ride to school.
But I thought, "No. If I stop now, I won't finish my goal." Even though I was frustrated with what had just happened, I couldn't let her have my mind because I needed my mind to stay focused on what I'm trying to accomplish.
It made me sad for her child though. So very sad. And for other children who grow up in toxic environments like that one.
Every day, I try to make a conscious decision to teach Miles about how to respect and love people. And, honestly, it frightens me for him to keep growing up, with the inevitability that he, too, will be bullied for doing something healthy, or right, or respectful, or honorable. And that's what has been breaking my heart all morning.
I'm a grown man, and I can take all the ridicule that the world has to offer. I wanted to go back and invite said lady to come run with me Monday morning, but I didn't want to incite an argument in front of those children (no less, her child who doesn't really understand the situation). Also, I wouldn't want her "company" to bring me down...in thought and in time/distance (she couldn't keep up with this "big guy").
So...here's the positive spin. Teach your children to love and respect people. Not just in lesson or lecture. But by your actions. Our kids will mirror everything we do. EVERYTHING. Personally, I want my kids (whoa...again pluralized) to mirror a Mommy and Daddy that LOVE people REGARDLESS of age, race, gender, socio-economical status, sexual/marital preference, political affiliation, religion (or lack of), or whatever group people associate with.
That's not to say we shouldn't impart our values on our children. I'll leave you to determine how that fleshes out for your family. But...
That's how we change the world.
Jesus asked God to forgive the people that were killing him...WHILE they were killing him. So, the least...no, the BEST, I can do is forgive a woman, who is most likely insecure with her situation, that is poking fun of me while I'm out trying to better myself.
Teach your kids. Show your kids. Love is a verb.
Recently On Seeded at the Table:
This section highlights the recipes posted recently on Seeded at the Table and other updates to the blog, if any.
Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Dip - Easy ingredients, easy steps. Pureed cauliflower baked into a cheesy, creamy buffalo dip. You'll be surprised when you can't stop dipping!
Snickers Cake - Chocolate cake soaked with caramel sauce and topped with whipped cream and chopped Snickers. Can't go wrong!
Here I will share with you my favorite things of late, along with other snippets that have caught my eye from some of my favorite blogs and websites.
Gilt - Judah recently grew out of his Thomas the Train suitcase, but it's still in great condition and super cute so we're keeping it and using it for Simon. Now, we have a bigger suitcase for him that I absolutely love! It's called a Wheelie Bag by Beatrix New York. Now, if you look up this suitcase, you will see that it's price is almost $100! Yeah...not paying that for a kid's suitcase even if it is top notch quality. That's where this website, Gilt, comes in. Gilt offers sales on fashion designer products for a fraction of the regular prices. For example, this suitcase is for sale on Gilt right now for $49! Don't like the robot? They have a dinosaur, too! (Sale ends in 6 days, so hurry!)
Sign up to receive $25 off your first purchase!
Full disclosure: I received the suitcase from my friends at Gilt in exchange for a review, but I am a Gilt member and my opinions are honest and my own.
The S'mores Cookbook - How many of you already own this cookbook? I received a copy last month for review. Susan Whetzel (Doughmesstic.com) created a variety of recipes inspired by the all-American favorite, S'mores. Take a step back in time and go beyond your typical childhood campfire treat and discover the likes of S'mores Cheesecake, Mini S'mores Trifles, Crock-Pot S'more Brownies, S'mores Popcorn, a S'more-tini and more! She also includes helpful information and tips about the history and components of S'mores. I love that every recipe has a photo (by Susan and Bree Hester) and the foreword is written by Chef Duff Goldman <swoon!>.
John Deere Nap Mat - Because I know many of you will ask, the rolled up mat you see in Judah's school photo above is a John Deere nap mat. When I found out he needed to bring a nap mat to leave in the classroom, I first checked Walmart. Since the majority of the schools here started the first of August and I wasn't shopping until the end of August, they were all out of the basic vinyl Kindermats.
So I searched Amazon and found this John Deere Nap Mat instead. It was more expensive, but way cuter, way more comfortable, and comes with a built in blanket. I love how it rolls up and then velcros for easy transport. Judah loves it, too. He leaves it at school in his cubby, with his name on it. But, he talks about it all the time. There is a girl version, too! (The price of the mat has risen since I bought it...but keep it on your wishlist and watch for it to drop again!) 😉 Great gift idea, too!!
Are you watching football this weekend? Any Sunday Night Football going on in your household tomorrow? I've got you covered on what to make to entertain your football guests! Click the graphic above for 185 fabulous football party recipes from me and my favorite food bloggers!