I wasn’t planning to write this post tonight. I wasn’t. I didn’t have it in my heart or mind at all. Not until dinnertime and the casual dose of hate my daughter flipped out of her mouth like it was nothing. And now I can barely see the screen through blurring tears, because my daughter hurt someone and I can’t fix it.
Hate is learned. Despite everything I’ve taught her, it only took one bad example for her to drop everything she knows and turn on someone else. I’m broken-hearted knowing that my little girl did this. That she followed the lead of a bully and deliberately hurt someone with her words in a way that hitting them wouldn’t have done.
As much as I’m hurting tonight, I know that another family hurt more. That a little boy, somewhere out there, had to deal with what spewed out of my daughter’s mouth. That’s what hurts the most – that little boy’s pain. That mother’s pain, who was called to be with him when he broke down. His father’s pain, knowing that the cycle of hate begins before his child could even understand it.
I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for what my daughter said. For the pain she caused, following blindly in another’s path. I wish I knew who they were so that I could tell them I’m sorry, that my daughter could apologize. So that she could see for herself how much her words hurt and try to repair the damage.
She went to bed tonight sobbing after I talked to her about how her words hurt her friend. The boy who won’t ever think of her as a friend now, who will probably never see her again. Some things are impossible to forgive, especially this kind of pain. She’s too young to fully understand that.
Tomorrow, her schooling will be abruptly interrupted to focus on learning kindness. To learning more about the legacy of hate behind the words she unknowingly repeated. We’re going to spend the next few weeks – a month, or as long as it takes – celebrating diversity, learning not to follow bullies, and how to stand up for people who need support. We were already teaching this, but now it’s the most important lesson she needs to learn.
I’ve failed as a parent. My failure cost a little boy his innocence and exposed him to hate. My daughter was the weapon, but I refuse to let her be one any more.