**Because I offended someone, I am going to edit this more in order to avoid upsetting them further. Because I believe I need to say something, I'm keeping this up.**
Let me preface this post with a disclaimer:
I am not casting judgement on anyone, past, present, or future who is involved with working with youth. I'm stating facts I have learned from years of pondering, studying, and experience. They might hurt a little for some people, and if they do, I am sad that they hurt you. But, I will not stop stating the truth just to increase an adult's comfort level. I'm going to say these things because I promised myself years ago that if/when I was a mother to a teenage girl, I would not let what happened to me, happen to her. It is time for me to start keeping that promise to myself.
Belle and I were talking recently, and an adult said something about Belle that was relayed back to Sis and it hurt her feelings and it bothered me a great deal. I made a point to research this alleged act, and, I feel that it is a legitimate problem.
I have deep concerns about any adult, particularly those in leadership positions saying negative things about any child or teen.
1. If the adult is not the actual parent of the child, they do not have enough information to make any judgement. If they have a concern, it is best expressed to the parents and no one else.
2. Talking about a youth to other youth is hurtful to everyone involved. It makes my very sad and disappointed. No matter how mild the offense may seem to the adult, a child will take such a thing and it will eat at them for years. I speak from my own experience as a youth here.
3. Casting judgement by saying, "don't be like..." etc.
Okay, I'm taking a breath here.
People, those are damaging, injury inflicting words. It isn't okay to say that. I speak from experience here once again. When I was a teen, some adults in the LDS church said truly unkind things to and about me and they were the catalyst for some of the worst years of my life. The injury they inflicted on my heart took me many years to heal from, and even now, I can feel the ache from that mistreatment. I was a teen, a child. I trusted those adults to treat me correctly and with Christlike love. They should have behaved better, just as this leader should have behaved better. I tell you now, I am an active member of the LDS church IN SPITE of those adults. Those adults took the culture of my church and used it to cause emotional harm. This is wrong. If you are an adult who does that in any way, please, STOP IT.
I tried very hard to take a breath and be direct, but respectful. I am not sure what I hoped for in this instance, but, I am disappointed in the result. I think I had hoped for a sincere apology and a promise to be more mindful of how words can affect a child. I think I was hoping for what I would do if I were that adult who had hurt a child's feelings. This is a reminder to me that I have high expectations for myself and that is okay, but, when I expect similar from others, I may be asking too much of them. I'm going to have to settle for knowing I said what I felt I needed to say, and I was true to myself and my kiddo. All I can do at this time is protect my child from any influence I see as potentially unnecessarily hurtful. If this person violates it again, then I will remove my sweet, imperfect but still wonderful girl from this leader's sphere of influence. Remember, I made a promise to myself to protect my children from harm, particularly emotional harm in my church. I will keep my promise.