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.
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 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 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 being proud of her speech.
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 how you’ve been treated. 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 what I did. 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?