This morning as I was driving to work, I was listening to a radio conversation about cyber bullying and the effects it has on our children. The speaker noted that the smart phones our kids are carrying act as real time barometers of their self esteem. So I thought it might be time to resurrect a piece I published a while back. By the way, I never did find Glee. Glee, if you are out there, please reach out to me. I want to ask your forgiveness.
Sugar and spice and everything nice. Everyone knows that what little girls are made of, right? But here’s a dirty little secret that every woman knows deep down in her heart. Girls also have the capacity to be some of the meanest creatures on earth. Having been a girl myself, being the mother of three girls and grandmother to seven, I have seen more than my share of mean girls. And I know what it means to be both the perpetrator and the recipient of this type of bullying behavior.
Usually this mean girl drama is over by the time we get to be adults. Hopefully by then we have become secure and comfortable in our own skin. We don’t have to jab or bully someone else in an attempt to make ourselves feel better about who we are. We become less clique-ish and more open to accepting people who are different from us. And we no longer feel the need to get even for what we perceive as slights. But occasionally, mean girls grow up to be mean women. And sadly they produce mean daughters.
Let me tell you an unflattering personal story that has haunted me all my life. When I was in Jr. High, I had a big slumber party one Friday night. I invited every girl in our circle of friends…except one, a girl with the pretty name of Glee. I didn’t think she liked me (She probably had a good reason!), so I was determined that she would be excluded. It hurt her. I wonder now if I missed an opportunity to get to know her better. I might have missed out on a real friendship. I’m so ashamed of my behavior, but I have paid for it over the years. Every time one of my daughters was slighted in some way, I thought of Glee. And today, when my granddaughters are bullied or left out, I remember Glee.
When I was discussing this topic with my daughter, Amanda, she reminded me how far this mean girl business goes back in history. All the way to Sarah and Hagar, her maid. You can read the story in the 16thchapter of Genesis. They are both guilty of dishing out the meanness, but it culminates with Hagar running away because Sarah mistreats her so badly. However Hagar cannot run away from God. While she is in the desert she has an encounter with El Roi, the God who sees. God saw her pain and assured her of His love and care for her.
What a comfort when our children or we are being bullied. God sees. If you daughter is being harassed or left out, God sees. If there are mean girls in your office, your neighborhood, your social circle, or even your church, God sees. Go to Him with your hurts. But the God who sees is also an admonishment. We can’t get away with mistreating others. God sees. When we are too exclusive, God sees. By the way, we are still paying for the hostility between Sarah and Hagar today. This mean girl stuff leaves a lasting legacy!
Writing these words has made me realize that I have a long overdue apology to make. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I have located a woman who might be the Glee from my school days. I have reached out to her for confirmation. If she indeed is Glee, I intend to tell her how very sorry I am and ask for her forgiveness.
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 (NIV).
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 31-32 (NIV).