I am a strict Mom. I am a playful, snowball fight, jump on the trampoline with my kids, and eat fresh chocolate chip cookies, Mom. I am a Mom who believes that God has set standards that He expects us to keep ourselves and for parents to teach to their children. Sometimes this means my children get hurt feelings because I need to point out when they fall short. Sometimes my own feelings are hurt when the Lord points out when I have fallen short. Then I realize that He loves me and is helping me to be better. Heavenly Father loves me as I am and helps me to become someone better … I try to do the same for my children.
As part of my Mom strictness, I often troll my kids’ social media accounts. Should there be anything concerning, we then have a sit-down and talk about the situation. This has allowed us as parents to head off several potential issues before they became larger issues.
Earlier this week, as I read through my oldest daughter’s Instagram messages, I came across a playful interaction between her and a schoolmate that within just a few messages, became hurtful and unkind … and it was my daughter who was unkind.
I was heartbroken. As a military brat—we moved a LOT. I was often the new kid. As the new kid in a family of 8 kids, I was also made fun of … a LOT. So I have too much experience with kids being unkind. Thus my children have a lot of experience with me teaching them about the importance of being kind.
As she and I discussed her choice, she shared how this classmate is annoying and an oddball who no one really likes. My heart broke further. How was I going to reach her and help her to understand that each of us is odd? Each of us has quirks and weirdness that make us uniquely and wonderfully ourselves. She is only 15. This lesson of embracing uniqueness may take her an entire lifetime to fully understand.
First, I told her off. Not the yelling kind, just the thorough, ‘This is not acceptable’ telling off that is sometimes necessary. Then we hugged and talked about how naturally all of us want to be accepted and that sometimes this leads us to follow the crowd. As disciples of Christ, we are to be better than ourselves. We are to be someone nicer than ourselves. We are to be kind, even if we don’t particularly care for the person we are being kind to.
As she shed tears of sorrow, I reminded her that she was so very, very loved. And that, thankfully, she could get up from this small bump in her journey of discipleship and learn and move forward a better person for the lesson.
I know she will be better for this, she has already shown a brighter demeanor and a kinder heart since this happened. If she can learn now, to be kind and loving, even when it would be so easy not to be so—then the world has an amazing woman to look forward to knowing!
(*I have my daughter’s permission to share this.)
During this journey, this is a lesson that I have had brought to my remembrance often—to be kind. It costs nothing but a little thought for the person I am interacting with. To reassure someone that they are doing good, that they matter, and that they can accomplish what life has thrown at them.
This week’s Good Samaritan moment was presented when a woman called and asked if I could give her a ride to a doctor’s appointment. As we drove to the appointment, I made a conscious effort to listen to her and to respond to her difficulties with a reassurance that she is doing good and that she was capable of doing all that she felt overwhelmed her.
This does not come naturally to me. I am a ‘Pick yourself up by your bootstraps!’ kind of girl. I’ve had to be to get through what my life has thrown at me. Often, I will become irritated with someone who seems to expect others to solve their problems. So, learning to listen with compassion has been a challenge that this journey of living as the Good Samaritan has time and again confronted me with: to simply love the other person—as they are.
That is all kindness is, really. To love the other person. To treat them with the dignity and respect and compassion that the Savior would show if He were here.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.