“Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, Guess I’ll go eat worms. Long, thin, slimy ones; short, fat, juicy ones, itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms.” 
Ring a bell? I remember this song from my childhood, though looking back now I’ll never understand why this song was actually a “thing.” I guess we know now all these years later, the last thing we need to do as parents is to make a funny little song that makes anything about hating one another seem “cutesy.” But alas, here we are. 2017. I don’t know if people still sing this song to their children, I certainly don’t. Not from some pious perspective either but really who wants to sing about “cutting their heads off” and “sucking their guts.” If that is appealing to you in any compacity, you are just gross and that’s probably an entirely different blog I need to write.
We may not sing this nursery rhyme in today’s world, but we still preach the message with our words and our actions. Our social media platforms scream to one another “I don’t agree with you” therefore I don’t like you, “you look different than me” so I hate you, “you don’t go to my kind of church” that means we can’t be friends, “you don’t have as many toys as I do” so we can’t play together “you are a boy and you have a boyfriend” so clearly, I hate you.
Doesn’t feel real “fuzzy wuzzy” when I put it that way, does it?
But unfortunately, that’s the world we are living in.
Emily McDowell runs an online studio and has an amazing blog that you should definitely check out here. She makes the cutest cards and mugs, and buttons…and just all the things. I have fallen in love with a button she has and I think anyone brave enough to put their words, their thoughts, their lives and their opinions online should have one. It’s only $10 and let’s face it, you know you need one. When you open yourself up to the vulnerability of blogging you come to grips with the reality that people will disagree, people will not like you, people will blast you on their sites and that’s just part of it. I’ve always said, I’m 100% OK with us not agreeing AS LONG AS you know why you believe what you believe. I’m not one to idly accept that you just disagree to disagree. That’s bunk to me. If you don’t agree with how I voted in last year’s presidential election, I get it, heck, some days I don’t agree with how I voted. But I know exactly why I feel that way. And I know exactly why I voted the way I did. So do me the common courtesy to know why you disagree.
And here’s a controversial statement, not liking someone or something is not enough of a reason to disagree.
Seriously though, let’s water it down to what we would teach our children. My son can rock his ABC’s, count to 10 and says words like elephant and kitty cat repetitively right now. He cannot carry on a full conversation with me yet, at 21 months though I feel like he’s advanced, and that’s my right no matter how delusional I am. He’s got a sweet, tender heart (definitely got that from his Daddy). He loves to play with just about every single human being and animal he has met. He loves to kiss babies on the forehead and he loves to hold hands with pretty little girls. “Momma didn’t raise no fool!” He likes to play with cars and Superheroes with his buddies. He loves to play sports of all kinds with anyone who is willing to kick the ball back. He’s a people lover (I told you he was like his Daddy). But the truth is one day he may come home and tell us he has decided he doesn’t like someone in his class. It’s hard to imagine, but I assume at some point he could fall from the graces of his current perfection.
At that moment, the parenting gets real. The blog words become a call to action.
My hope is that I never have that conversation with my son, but my synicism says we might. If Judd says that to me one day, my prayer is that I am equipped and ready to teach him in that moment that differences are not an acceptable reason to dislike someone. Now, let me make one thing clear. If my little boy tells me he doesn’t like someone because they were mean to him, they picked on him, they hit him, they called him a mean name or something of that nature. Y’all go ahead and pray for me. “Hell hath no fury.” But surely I’ll be prepared with the whole “life isn’t fair, turn the other cheek, ‘vengenence is mine sayeth the Lord’.” You know all that good “Christianese” speak to help my son. But the reality in our family is our son’s mommy and daddy don’t match in color and sometimes people stare and sometimes they give us dirty looks. It’s a shame they don’t get to know us first, well, especially my husband, he’s really awesome. And you know what, that isn’t fair. But it’s OK because we are confident in ourselves and in our marriage and we know that we married the one “whom my soul loves” like was written about in Song of Solomon 3:4. And our marriage doesn’t have to “make sense” or be acceptable to anyone outside the bond we share. And our sweet little boy, look at him. He’s adorable. He has the biggest, prettiest brown eyes and the most amazing curly hair. And dimples in all the right places!
Judd has the most beautiful tan skin, granted he loves the beach and the pool and wants to be outside at ALL times. But he is biracial. And as he grows up, unfortunately, because we live in a sin-soaked world there will be people who don’t like him because of his blended ethnicity. And they may call him names. Deplorable names that should be banished from existence, but alas we are left with their vitriol and hate. I don’t know how I’ll handle those situations. My hope is I’ll be prayed up and ready and less reactive and more proactive. But I know my temper, I know my depravity and I know my love for that little boy and that it knows no bounds. But what I do hope is that my son learns that it is OK if someone doesn’t like you, life will go on, life will still be good, and all the amazing things he knows about himself are still true. I pray that my son, and heck who am I kidding, I hope I too remember, that I am still a chosen child of God who is so loved I was worth the sacrifice of His only Son for my pardon.
God made each and every one of us differently. He made us with different passions and purposes. But in the end, He made us all in His image. And because of that truth, it’s never OK to dislike someone just “because.” (And yes, for the parent patrol, I know the proper thing to say is, “it’s never OK to dislike someone no matter what…but again, hello sin-soaked world!)
I relate all this to my family and our “look.” But it goes much deeper. Having worked in politics and still now avidly following that world, disliking someone because we disagree has become our anthem and that’s unfortunate. People were aghast when President Trump had dinner with Senator Schumer and Congresswoman Pelosi. They were aghast that he would agree to work with them on DACA. Why? Why have we accepted a political climate that makes bipartisan agreements astounding?
Red, yellow, black, white, Muslim, Baptist, Straight, Gay, Trans, Bi, tall, short, fat, skinny, smart, “on the spectrum,” in a wheelchair, or running marathons, we are all Americans. I may not agree with my friends on the other side of the aisle politically, but I can always agree that doing what’s right for America trumps what is right for my political party. My affiliation is with my Savior, my family, my friends and my country. I’m a Child of God, I’m Arron’s wife, Judd’s mom, Frank and Regina’s daughter, member of the “my tribe” texting chain with my college friends, and an American citizen…and somewhere, very far down the list…like towards the bottom, I’m a Republican. I assure you I live my life focused on the first 3-5 things on that list not the bottom of that list.
Yuval Harari, an Israeli-historian, once said, “In the past censorship worked by blocking the flow of information. In the twenty-first century, censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information..in ancient times having power meant having access to data. Today, having power means knowing what to ignore.” And that is what I will teach my son. To ignore the voices who say they don’t like him and have no valid reason and to hear the words of his Creator, his parents and those around him that love him and build him up.
And to you my good readers, I say to you, find the power within yourself today to know what to ignore, to know what voices to drown out. And take it one step further, stop being those voices and those social media accounts that need to be ignored.
Go check out Emily McDowell’s site, here.
If you live in Wilmington, or nearby, check out Leanne Haskins Photography. She’s the one that took our amazing family pictures!
Feature photo: Source: pixabay.com