We Can Do Better

We Can Do Better

Someone unfriended me on Facebook this morning. I’m not surprised. Our friendship ended in real time months ago; today she just made it official, like it’s the electronic equivalent of slamming the door in my face. 

I can handle this cruel and final gesture, and all the emotional havoc this relationship has wreaked on me recently, but I hate how garbage like this trickles down to our daughters, how their dysfunctional friendships are often a reflection of our own. And as I’ve watched women (myself included) try to navigate these rocky relationships for years, it makes me wonder if we can’t teach our daughters to do a little better than we’re doing.

For starters, I wonder if we can’t teach them the right way to confront each other. To do it in person rather than resorting to snarky emails and social media to make a point. Because, no matter how old you are, using texts and Twitter, etc. to tackle personal issues is tacky and unbiblical, and whatever you say or do online, you can’t take back. Face-to-face confrontations may be uncomfortable, and they won’t always end well. Some relationships won’t be reconciled or restored. But if we teach our daughters to do it well, with courage and humility, at least they can walk away from any conflict with their dignity and integrity intact.

I wonder, too, if we can’t teach them to exercise some caution, to not rush into relationships and suffer the consequences later. To resist the urge to offer pieces of their hearts to people without first discerning whether or not they are worthy of that honor. I’m not saying we teach our daughters to erect walls, to isolate or be stand-offish. Vulnerability in friendships is vital to everyone’s emotional well-being. But if what we want from their friends is a little solidarity in the long run, then what we need is to teach our daughters how to practice some godly restraint up front before allowing unsafe people sacred access into their lives.

While we’re at it, maybe we can teach them to be more inclusive, too. To be willing, even, to forfeit their parties and plans if they can’t include everyone in their social circles. I know this seems ridiculous, impossible, some might even say. But if we teach our daughters that it’s okay to exclude another human being, that there’s actual justification in doing that, then we’re feeding them a big fat lie. Because it’s not okay. It’s never okay. I’d rather my daughter celebrate her birthday alone than give her the green light to break another child’s heart. Kindness trumps convenience and personality preferences every damn day.

But.

When they are excluded (because, let’s face it, that awful day will come), when we find our daughters crying hot ugly tears over being left out of some slumber party or other social event, I wonder if we can’t teach them not to retaliate, to not take to their Facebook or email accounts to hurl passive aggressive insults at the scoundrel that wounded them. To not rally a flock of friends to gang up and gossip with. We can teach them, instead, how easily we can be guilty of causing such intense pain ourselves. We can remind them of the girl they didn’t invite, the girl they forgot to call, the girl they hoped would never find out. Because recognizing the pain we’ve inflicted on others often goes a long way in helping us better understand and cope when we are hurting, too.

Then maybe we can give our girls the Gospel. Because few things will fling them into the arms of Jesus like a friendship gone train-wreck wrong. We can lead them and their broken hearts to the foot of the Cross, and explain to them how Christ was rejected, betrayed, and abandoned by His closest friends, too, how He died alone. It’s a hard lesson for anyone to learn, especially at such a young, tender age, but in light of their loss, they will slowly begin to identify with Christ in His suffering, and if we’re really being honest here, isn’t this what we truly want for our daughters? To be more like Him? 

I admit I flounder a lot in my friendships. I haven’t always modeled healthy and safe relationships for my daughters to see. I’ve made mistakes that I regret and given my girls lousy lessons on the right way to relate. But I know I can do better.

Moms, we can all do better.

For the sake of our sweet daughters. And for the sake of the younger mothers coming after us, the ones who are watching and waiting and who are terrified of the very nightmare some of us are living. Rise up and teach. Ask God to come and bring his healing and redemption to our wrecked relationships.

Because we can do better than this.

Comments

  1. As a Mom of kid that is often excluded I say ‘Amen.’ Many times I have heard things along the lines of ‘well he probably would have been invited but that location is so expensive they couldn’t have many.’ How about cake and ice cream at home? Then would he have been invited? It’s frustrating. The fact is everyone can’t be invited everywhere but you’re right – we can do better!

  2. CRSlusser says:

    Thank you so much for posting this Megan! As a kid, I was one of the ones that was excluded from slumber parties, birthday parties, etc. It’s taken me a long time to be able to confront people about things that either they’ve said and/or their actions towards certain situations and while it is (almost always) uncomfortable to do, it is the biblical thing to do. I feel that you’ve nailed this issue right on the head!

    • This is one of those posts that I always hesitate before publishing. But the best way for me to get clarity is 1) to write it, and 2) to share it, in the hopes that it might help someone else. I’m glad it resonated with you, and I really, really appreciate your comment.

  3. Thank you for writing this. A lot of us moms are hurting for our daughters. You helped ease the pain.

  4. Girls can be so mean. Unfortunately they’re just repeating behavior they see in their mothers. It’s a vicious cycle and needs to stop. Thanks for trying to be part of the solution, not the problem.

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