Tuesday, August 2, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

Thinking About What You Say (Or Write) By Melissa

I am going to tell a story, it doesn't matter if it is fact or fiction. What matters is the story it tells. I hope people listen and think. Think about what you say, and what you write before you say it to children.

Shannon was nine when her step father went into AA. Or was it NA? She wasn't really sure. She knew it was supposed to help him get better and it didn't really work. He was still angry. Her world was still torn apart. The home still felt ugly.

Part of AA (we will go with AA since we don't know which it was, but we do know he was addicted to both drugs and alcohol as evidenced by the track marks on his arms, and elsewhere) was he had to keep a notebook. Children are curious, and too stupid to know that sometimes what is inside of notebooks, even carefully hidden ones, can destroy their emotions. That is what happened to Shannon when she read her step fathers notebook.

Even though her father was not exactly kind to her most of the time, she clung to the times when he was. Children are awfully forgiving creatures. They have to be in order to survive the land of playground politics. In Shannon's mind her step father was just angry sometimes, like Robert at school who sometimes pulled her hair or called her stupid. And... maybe she just was stupid. She just made herself not feel it when they said those things. She only let herself believe the hugs, and when he said "I love you."

But she found his notebook and read, being the curious child that she was. She knew she shouldn't. She knew he would be angry. She knew he would probably spank her, or worse call her awful things. He'd once taken books from her because he didn't want her to get ideas from the content in them, saying they were too "adult" in content. Reflecting as an adult, it's interesting to her that the book was Mommy Dearest.

There were things about God, and forgiveness. Asking for it, so on and so forth. Lots of things that a young girl didn't really understand, but there was one page that will be forever burned in her memory. It was the day she read in his notebook that her step father hated her. It was on a page of things he wanted to "confess". Not that he had done awful things to her, or her mother or to countless other people. It was that he hated HER, that he wished SHE wasn't alive. That he wished there was only one child in the household. That he couldn't stand to look at her. And on and on, in a paragraph forever etched in her brain.

Forever etched in her brain.

Today I ask you to think about all of the Shannon's in the world.  There are thousands of them being told by the people they love that they wish they had never been born. They are being made to feel like they aren't worthy. They don't feel they should be alive. They feel like mistakes, unloved and unwanted.

Hug your children. Please tell them that they are awesome. Tell them that you are glad they are alive.