The other day someone called Henry "too fat" on instagram saying that he was unhealthy. While I know better and shouldn't care what some internet stranger thinks, it still hurt. That's my baby. You can be mean to me, but don't criticize him!
It got me thinking about how he will grow up in an age of internet and social media. As prevalent as mean girls and bullying may have been during my childhood, it is made easier by the anonymity of the internet. You no longer have to have the courage to be rude to someone's face, you can hide behind your computer screen or phone and speak hateful words. I don't want Henry to have to experience that. As his mother of course I want to shelter him from all pain and hurt. Yet, I also know that is unrealistic.
I do hope to teach him about kindness, however. Maybe Thumper said it best, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Maybe that's too extreme. I believe that we should be able to voice dissenting opinions and share criticism, however I'd rather be too kind than fall too far on the other end of the spectrum.
I hope to teach him that everyone is going through something. No matter how put together and confident someone appears, they have experienced hurt and have insecurities. We all do. So, rather than attacking, we should strive to build each other up. Treating hate with kindness and cruelty with love. Showing others how we want to be treated. Demonstrating respect and love for all living things (and even kindness toward non-living things).
I hope to help him recognize that often those acting the most cruel and hateful are hurting themselves so that he might be strong and confident in the face of any attacks he undergoes and also an example of love and kindness to the world.