Sometime near the end of my first year as a homeschooled child (I attended a private school through kindergarten), I discovered that homeschooling and tiny private schools were not the only way of education. Through the proclaiming wisdom of one little friend or another, I became in the know about "those yucky public schooled kids," and several proven "facts": all public schoolers hate homework, never study, make fun of the teachers, pass notes every minute, spend two hundred dollars a day on new fashion accessories, and worst of all, pick on lonely kids. Back when I was so "in the know" about public schoolers and their detestable follies, the one "fact" that struck me as unforgivable was this one.
I have always hated seeing someone left out. Especially if it's someone who is quite a bit different from the rest of the crowd--maybe the girl at the party who is last chosen in the game because everyone knows she is terrible at soccer, maybe the boy at camp whom no one wants to sit by because of his squeaky voice and chatter about Bionicles. In my younger, oblivious days which were mentioned above, I would literally day dream about attending public school and being the "rescuer" for every lonely kid that was being picked on. I imagined interrupting the barbie doll blond bullying the trembling math whiz, saying something smart, and whisking the victim off to safety. I could see myself clearly--the champion of the outcasts, the teacher's favorite who stopped hallway fights and always did her homework.
And then...I grew up. My eyes were opened, and I realized how silly I was being, even though my heart was in the right place. I truly did want to diminish loneliness in the world...but I finally realized that the "yucky public schoolers" were few and far between, and actually, for every percent of meanies in a public school crowd, there was destined to be a matching number in the homeschool circle. This was truly fact--for I myself witnessed it, as time went on. I met amazing public schoolers, but also ones whom I would rather not spend five minutes with. I developed my friendships with dear homeschooled friends, but discovered at the same time a few who could be defined as"under-cover bullies--"downright mean boys and girls who were forming cliques right in my homeschooling community. And I realized something else: all along, despite my righteous intentions, I had been no better than the trembling math whiz's blond bully.
..Looking back at my past actions, and even thoughts, I could see that there had been countless times where I had been exclusive--maybe not so much in action, but being reluctant within about including someone who wasn't the most enjoyable personage, or wanting to be with my little circle of friends instead of reaching out and forming strong friendships with "different" people.
You see, there are cliques everywhere you go. At the tender age of seven, I believed that public schoolers were the only ones capable of exclusion. I had a lot to learn. There is a wonderful, yet pricking :) Bible verse which warns us against pointing fingers:
"You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
...this is one that has been so hard for me to grasp, and apply to my own life. So many times I find myself judging and getting mad at people who leave me out and act as though I am not worthy of their friendship. I dwell on their faults, their cruelty, and don't stop to consider whether I have always been inclusive, friendly, and genuinely glad to be seen with someone who everyone else turns up their noses at.
It's funny. This post was originally going to be entitled,"You Can't Always Be Popular." It was going to cover in great detail all of the aspects of getting left out--how in the coming years you will see friends come and go for no reason, how you need to get used to people constantly deciding they don't want to be friends, etc. I can just see myself ranting and raving about people who have hurt my feelings, hated me for no reason, etc...but, for some reason, as I began typing, the LORD gave me better words to write.
As I erase the original title, now, and put something more suiting in its place, I am coming to the realization that this post was not for you--it was for me. You, my friends, are merely listening in as my Father teaches me, even through my little blog post on a rainy Sunday afternoon.