"But Mom": Two of the most dreadful words in the English language

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hello. I'm Shy. And You Are?...

If you know me now you may be surprised to learn that I am shy.  Oh sure, I talk a lot.  I love to speak in public.  I love to teach the children and adults in church.  But it has taken me YEARS to get to this point.  Underneath it all, I am shy at heart.

(Flash back 25-years to my elementary school days:)

I was the girl who absolutely, under no circumstances could say hi to another child without my face turning beat red and bile threatening to come strait up and out.  I remember walking through ZCMI in Cottonwood Mall, when a classmate of mine walked by with her mother.  She said hi to me, but I just kind of hid behind my mom.  My mom got really mad at me for not saying hi.  What she didn't know was that I tried to speak...I really did.  I WANTED to speak, I just couldn't.  I was even holding my mom's hand for crying out loud and still couldn't find it within myself to open my mouth!

It was so frustrating and humiliating.  It was also confusing.  I wasn't that way at home.  At home I was myself.  I had no problems telling my sisters what to do...I mean, "talking" to my sisters.  I remember waking up in the morning and thinking that THAT was going to be the day that I broke out of my shell.

It never was.

The children at school took advantage of my timidity and teased me mercilessly.  They knew that I wouldn't do anything about it.  They would chase me home from school, pull my chair out from under me while I was sitting down, call me names.  Kids can be cruel, cruel creatures.

As much as I was teased however, there was one girl, only one, who was teased more than I.  I at least had one friend.  This poor girl had no one.

Her name was Bethany.  The only thing I remember about her is her face.  It was round and framed by stringy orange hair.

The worst thing I have ever done in my life was when I was in the fourth grade.  It was recess and I was kicking a ball against a wall...by myself.  I was approached by Bethany.  She asked me if she could play with me.  I don't know why I did it, but I told her no.  Then I gave her a mean look, grabbed my ball, and walked away.   Even at the time I knew that I was being cruel for no reason.  I immediately felt bad and have felt terrible ever since.

This moment has haunted me for years and I have learned a lot from it.  From that moment on, I tried to be kind to everybody that I came across.  I'm not perfect and know that I have offended many people along the way, but I really try.  Everyone deserves a friend and a smile.  Everyone.

If I ever come across Bethany again in this life, I would give her a big hug and tell her how sorry I am about that day at the wall.  In all honesty, she probably doesn't remember that incident...but she might.  Whether she remembers or not, I remember.  I remember.

I once heard that there are three things that are important in this life here on earth:

1. To be kind
2. To be kind
3. To be kind.

If I teach my children anything at all, I hope that it is this:  Nothing is more important than this, to be kind.

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