It has been quite the emotional week in this household. I didn’t realize how much one little speech could cause so much drama. My daughter wrote something from her heart which was a positive and encouraging speech to others, and she should have been able to read it. End of discussion. But like everything else in this divorce, it had to turn into a fight. It gets so tiring.
But when it comes to my children, I will not sit back and let these things happen to them. I worry too much about how this type of behavior towards them will shape how they are as they grow up. My daughter is already so confused, as control tactics were used on her, and she is always worried about everyone in “the family” (his family) being told what is going on and treating her badly. She is being scared into not talking. But it’s a catch 22 for me. My ex and his family read my blogs, and then turn around and get the kids into trouble. Another way for them to try and silence me. I am sure my daughter will come home after her time with him upset I posted this, because he will have involved her in adult conversations and will try to manipulate her. The cycle continues, except now with my children.
So what will my daughter remember from this experience?
Five years down the road, I doubt she will remember her speech. But she will remember that her dad threw it out and told her nobody would want to hear it. She will remember that her grandmother told her it was not good enough to read to the class. She will remember that her grandmother decided to write her a new one, more ‘suitable’ to read. She will remember that they tried to silence her voice. She will remember how two people that are supposed to love her and support her, made her feel not good enough. That they told her how she was dealing and coping with this very big life change, didn’t matter to anyone.
She will remember.
She will also remember, that her mom said: No. Unacceptable. You will not be silenced. That her mom told her that her speech was good enough, and that other kids would have benefited from listening to it. She will remember that her mom posted her speech on social media to show her how important it was. She will remember sitting with her mom for over an hour, reading all of the positive comments and encouragement she got, from complete strangers, and coming to the conclusion that they were wrong to do what they did.
She will remember her grandparents berating me infront of her, telling her how it was wrong I posted her personal speech on my social media for everyone to see. She will remember that for a few days, because they continued to talk about it, she started to believe them and get upset with me. She will remember how her dad told her that he had so many people texting and phoning him telling him that I was crazy to be doing what I was doing. She will remember he lied to her.
She will remember how her mom went into the school to speak with the principal and make sure that even though speeches were over, she got to read her original in class, because that was important to her. She will remember her principal supported her in this, because she also believed it was important she used her voice.
Your child may not remember the exact situation years down the road, but what they will remember is how those around them acted, supported, treated, demeaned, bullied. They will remember the lesson they learned, how they felt, what they were taught in that situation. I guess I could have sat quietly, held her hand and said: I’m sorry your dad and grandma did that to you and you didn’t get to read your speech. That’s too bad hunny. Then maybe she could have gone on to think that her voice and feelings didn’t really matter. She could have believed that censorship is ok. But instead, five, ten, twenty years down the road, when she is in another situation like this, because she will be, she will look back and remember when her mom stood up for her and told her that her voice matters, her feelings matter, and nobody was going to silence her.
If you have children, remember that the things, the presents, even the underlying parts of the situation don’t matter. They are watching you and seeing how you react, how you treat them and what you allow. That is what they will remember, that is how they will be shaped as they grow. This is such a big responsibility we have as adults. They remember experiences over presents. They remember hugs and kisses over toys. They remember time spent with them over money thrown at them.
They remember being told they aren’t good enough and what they say doesn’t matter. But not only do they remember this, they believe it. They believe it and it stays with them.
So, I stand behind my choice to post her speech. Because I know that when she grows up, she will remember that I was proud of her for using her voice. There are too many girls like my daughter being silenced. Too many being told what they think doesn’t matter. Shush up. Say this instead. Think this instead. Do what I say or I will silence you.
How can the world be changed, if the firecrackers that can do the changing have their spark stamped out?
What do you want your children to remember?