One Good Thing

Written by Michelle

I. Can’t. Stand. Her!

His book bag flew across the table as his boisterous rant took flight. Two seconds after stepping through the door, I was welcomed with a fast-paced outpour of accounts that packed his event-filled elementary school day.

Unfortunately, this was not a good day. At least, not for my third grader.

His words would not stop. His tone was negatively charged. From her not being nice, to how she giggled at him. He grew upset discussing how he felt when she was around him.

I had heard these complaints before and had addressed them with both Liam and his teacher. They both assured me everyone was “fine”.  Yet, as I teetered the fine line between bullying and a school-aged crush, I was too familiar with the word “fine” and at times stricken by the reality of it’s dull definition.

That evening as I sat with a calmer, more relaxed, eight year old, I let him know that he was not alone.

I, too, understood how being around her felt. I had my her. Actually, I still did.

Most of us do.

Regardless of age, or walk of life, we come across individuals who thrive on putting us down, the ones who make our hearts race as we stumble to act, react or simply retort with an appropriate response,  the ones who make us practice our answers to every slight…

even when they’re not around.

These individuals feast on taking a part and apart aspects of our life. They tug at our hearts and our minds. It was probably the first time it happened to him, but it was certainly not going to be his last.

Last year, I dealt with a particularly difficult incident. Troubled by the thought that I would have to encounter this individual again Emily provided the perfect solution. I had to find one good detail about her, a positive trait that would sway me from dwelling on the words that sometimes sent me on emotional roller coasters and made me lose my sanity and my time.

So, we did. And I took it as my armor. For every emotional strike, word, sentence, and phrase, I looked at her, smiled, and raised my mental shield. With clenched teeth I made myself remember there is something positive about her.

There is.

I can’t deny it.

It’s really true…


She looks good in a hat!

(You can smirk now. Yes, that’s the best I could come up with.)

By the end of that night with her…well…she just looked AMAZING in that hat!

I told Liam the story and he giggled.

A hat?  he asked.

Yes, sometimes all you need is a hat, a shield from doubting yourself, your strength and most importantly your inner worth. No one should have the power to take away your smile. A hat gave me a reason to put it back on.

Yesterday morning in the middle of a chaotic three-year-old tantrum, while I tried to get my children off to school, and find everyone’s missing socks, my third grader calmly plopped himself next to me and blurted:

She is a good reader!

I stared at him blankly.

He said it louder,  She is a good reader!


She is a really, REALLY good reader!

I starred longer. Still clueless.

Mami, she is a good reader, and I think she looks GREAT in a hat!


Categories: Michelle

Tags: , , ,

7 replies

  1. That’s a great idea. I’ll have to try that next time!

    • Kate- I’ve even developed different hats in my head! 😉 Trust me, it is a powerful tool and one that makes me have side chuckles all to myself! Thanks for reading.

  2. Awesome writing Michelle! Also, your a great mammi giving him that shield and story to deal with unfortunate people like that in life.😘

    • It breaks my heart that he has to deal with this, but so is life. It’s hard seeing him grow and experience the moments I truly thought would come at a later time. 😦
      Thank you for reading. I appreciate the comment!

  3. Good job, Liam! You win!

  4. A pastor I knew used to say that when someone hurts us we tend to paint a caricature of them – you know, like a cartoon where someone’s nose really stands out? We make that person nothing BUT the thing they did that hurt us. He said that when we hurt someone else we protest: “I’m not JUST that thing I did to you – I’m a complex and complicated person with many facets.” So you are really onto something with the “find something positive about them” thing!

    Every person is complicated and complex. We all have many sides. Learning not to dwell on the ONE side that is hurtful is a difficult exercise in mental discipline, but it can be done.

    I think the only time we should not subject ourselves (or our kids) to the bad behavior of others is when the other person’s behavior proves dangerous. For instance, I would never suggest that a wife being abused should just find a positive quality about her husband – I would tell her to RUN!

    Thanks for a great post – I love hearing things like this from the perspective of a child’s life. Very refreshing!

  5. That is a really powerful thing to do. It reconnects us and takes away some of the anger and frustration. Great lesson!

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