Ever have a very unexpected, yet wowing, conversation with someone? The kind of conversation that makes you stop and really think about what was just said? I had one of those this evening. With my 6 year old!!
Lou and I had the most in depth, serious, conversation, in the car, on the way to gymnastics tonight. It made me realize how important feeling accepted is, to everyone, regardless of age.
Lou told me a story about a friend of hers, we will call her Miley, and another friend, we will call her Olive, and a conversation the three of them had at lunch today. Olive asked Miley why it is that she doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. Miley did not want to answer Olive. She avoided her question.
Lou has shared with me, prior, that Miley does not say the Pledge of Allegiance, nor does she celebrate her birthday or anyone else’s for that matter. When Lou shared this with me, I took a guess that Miley is a Jehovah’s Witness. I told Lou this and explained, to the best of my knowledge, what this religion believes. I shared with Lou that Miley’s beliefs are simply different than ours, yet, that is one of the things the US is about….Freedom of Religion. Lou dropped the subject, and, life moved on.
Back to today’s lunch….allow me to tell the story, as told to me, by my 6 year old. Lou said to Olive, “Miley believes differently than we do.”
Olive asked, “What does that mean?”
Miley still wouldn’t explain why she doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. Instead, she answered, ” I won’t tell you why. I told a friend why last year and she told me she would no longer be my friend.”
Lou leaned over and whispered in Miley’s ear, “You are a Jehovah’s Witness, aren’t you?”.
Miley replied, ” Yes.”
Lou then told Miley, “That isn’t a reason not to be friends with you. You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe.” Miley then told Olive why she doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance.
I am proud, of my little girl. Not only for her kindness, but also, for supporting her friend and helping her to be brave enough to be proud of who she is. Lou helped Miley to feel accepted. I am not sure there are many greater gifts in this world.
Acceptance. It can be something difficult to give someone. Even more difficult to give to yourself, at times. Yet, I think it is something we all so desperately want. Something we wish for. To be loved, cared for, valued, respected, just the way we are. For my little Lou to offer that, to her friend, is quite impressive. It makes me wish to take a page from her book.
And, to think, all of this transpired over a 1st grade, 25 minute lunch today. And, Lou shared it, with me, over a 20 minute drive in the car.
Oh, she also asked me, “Mom, would you allow me to believe something different than you? If you didn’t believe in God, but I wanted to, would you let me?”
What a difficult question. And yet, I like to think my answer would be yes. That together, her and I, we would do research, talk about the various religions, and, that I would be open minded enough to allow her to make the decision of what makes sense for her life.
My little Lou. Six years old. Almost 7. Always thinking. Always being her own individual. Always pushing the envelope. And yet perfect, just the way she is. I accept her for who she is. I hope I always do and she always feels my acceptance, and, continues to offer hers to others as well….
Originally Written 31Aug15