Jul 30, 2014

American Mean Girl

Not too long ago, I read an article about the historical character girl of the year American Girl dolls. The first comment under the article was talking about how "sad" it was that the new American Girls in the recent years are facing such "horrible" things. Asking, what happened to the real history? Like the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, and the Trail of Tears. This person thought it was ridiculous that the American Girl company was now having our "American girls" face such trivial things such as mean girls?! This person very bluntly stated that they needed to show the real history of America today. 

Well, I am here to say I think that is exactly the history we are making and facing. With today's world our children, maybe especially our daughters are facing 24/7 mean girls which leads to self-doubt, insecurities, bullying, sadness, and depression. No our kids aren't facing starvation, slavery or hard labor, but that doesn't make today's times and difficulties any less hard to the girls of today. 

I looked up what the American Girl historical characters girl of the year exactly was on the American Girl website and it said, "they give girls an engaging glimpse into important times in America's past. Gentle life lessons throughout the stories remind girls of such lasting values as the importance of family and friends, compassion, responsibility, and forgiveness." 

There has been a doll that survived the Great Depression, a girl wanting to be free during the Civil War and now there is Isabelle a ballet dance student tormented by a "mean girl". Some people may laugh at such a trivial thing. If we look at the past character girl doll that was trying to break out of slavery and now this poor little girl who is struggling in a performing art school, where she has all the wealth, a loving family and all the adorable clothes she could ever want. 

Some people may want to scream - "Get real! That's not an important part of America's past." But I want to say today, yes it is. This is the "war" our children are facing today. 

I just watched the new American Girl movie, Isabelle, with my daughters this morning. Isabelle is a 4th grade ballet dancer who is struggling with her confidence because of a mean girl who is constantly saying rude things to her, calling her names, and excluding her. Isabelle struggles with her worth because she is letting this mean girl define who she is.

But I also want to go out on a limb and say that it's not just our children who are facing this "war," as adults, we are too. And I think it's a time we put a stop to it.

I think as mothers we are also having to deal with those mean girls in our lives. I'm sure you've heard of the "mommy wars." Other mothers who judge every move we make. Telling us that we are horrible mothers because we chose to do something different then they do. Working mom vs Stay at home mom. Breast feeding vs Bottle feeding. Cloth diapers vs disposable diapers. Public schools vs Homeschool. If your kid throws a fit in the middle of the store you better react correctly because all the other women staring at you will be casting their judgement upon you.

That's a whole lot of other people to worry about when we are just struggling to do the best we can. We could get wrapped up in other people's judgments and like Isabelle struggle with a serious case of self-doubt. 

And what about the mean girls who say "You can't sit here." Who purposely leave others out and make them feel like outsiders or who are constantly spreading rumors. And are putting others down so they feel better about themselves and fit in with the "in crowd."

I used to be a mean girl. I wanted to sit at the popular table and have all the right clothes, friends, and hobbies. I didn't care who I hurt because I wanted to be in. It was all about me. Well, I don't think I could care less about being "cool" now. (Which is a good thing because I'm pretty dorky.) And I do not want that for my children either. So I am taking a stand to stop it from being passed on in my famil. I want no part of it.

There are plenty of "mean girls" in our lives ready to hurt us, excluding us, spreading rumors, and waiting for us to mess up. 

Well, ladies (and men) quit being MEAN GIRLS. Let's start being God's girls. 

I'm finding out there are going to be "mean girls" our whole lives. Unfortunately, this is not only true for our children or for teenagers, adults deal with it daily. And I guess we can either be mean right back or we can choose to take the high road: pray for them, turn the other cheek and keep on loving the unlovable.

I have to stop and ask myself, "Am I letting the "mean girls" in my life define my worth?" Or am I secure in who I am in my identity in Christ. Am I focused on what God wants for my life or am I letting them determine my direction and attitude?

Isabelle struggles with self-doubt through out the movie, but when she stops comparing herself to others and learns to focus on her own unique talents, she finds a special way to stand out and to use her passions to help others, too.

At the end of the movie Isabelle gets some encouragement from a dancer she looks up to, her mother, and her big sister. And I want to be that encouragement in your life, too.

Let's say it together: "Mean Girls in my life, you no longer have a hold on me. So leave me alone. I'm going to be me and I'm ok with that. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, but I want to ask you to quit worrying about me and do what you do. Just be kind and loving and I'm doing my best to do the same!"

Someone may not be doing it how you would, but that's ok. Let's not spread rumors, make ugly comments, and be rude. Let's be uplifting and encouraging to one another. This world can be a very ugly, hard place with enough of it's own struggles. Wouldn't it work better if we were all on the same team, fighting the same battle?

We are all doing the best we can to be who God created us to be. Let's stop worrying about someone else's failures and weaknesses and look at ourselves. Are we loving others? Are we practicing the golden rule? To treat others as we would want to be treated. Or we could even treat people better than we would want them to treat us. Think of how much better this world would be if we did that.

So I guess I do have to agree with that person who commented on the article, stating how ridiculous it was that the girl of the year was struggling with "mean girls". Let's get real people and stop being that mean girl. I hope the next American Girl doll has to struggle with something a whole lot kinder.

I hope this has encouraged you today to either stop being a mean girl. Or if you are struggling with self-doubt because of a mean girl in your life I hope you are encouraged with the hope we have in Jesus Christ. 

Maybe I sound like a hippie, but I want to be a lover not a fighter. To have peace not war.

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