This is a short bunch of stories that I've seen, that truly make me sad. For the sake of those involved I've changed their names, but however it's hard to change the setting but I tried. The goal of this whole blog post (not that any of them read it) is to hopefully one show those who are feeling this way that people notice and try to change it, and two show those who are causing the hurt that they are wrong.
Tale 1: Christie and Julie
Christie and Julie are not brand new to the area, but you can tell they haven't lived here their whole life. Christie and Julie are both great girls once you take the time to get to know them. However Christie and Julie found themselves in the mix of a bunch of Judgemental Judy's. These girls have been together most of their lives, and can't seem to find room for Christie and Julie in their circle of friends. The girls (hopefully unknowingly) push Christie and Julie to the back of the room, in a row by themselves, or outside of the circle of conversation. Now as the narrator, I'm not entirely sure if Christie and Julie notice it or how they feel about the situation, but if I was in their shoes I'd be offended. For Christie and Julie's sake I hope that the girls try to be more "Christlike" and include others.
Tale 2: Ashley
Ashley has a different opinion then Jane. Jane feels as if you must do everything you are asked, including accepting jobs that you cannot fulfill. Jane constantly tells Ashley that she is wrong and makes her feel like a bad person in front of others, because Ashley can't always do everything. Ashley does quite a lot of extra things in her life, and as everyone else gets stressed. Ashley knows that only she knows how much is too much, but Jane keeps pushing and making Ashley feel bad about saying no, especially when it comes to church assignments. Having talked to "Ashley"- she feels offended and wishes that Jane would lay off.
Tale 3: Jennifer
Jennifer and Grace have been friends their entire lifes. But Grace gets special treatment by one of the adults in their lifes. Jennifer is constantly put down and belittled by the adult who makes everything about Grace. Grace doesn't notice how Jennifer is treated, nor does she try to comfort or standup for her friend. Jennifer has said that she doesn't think that the adult cares for her as much as she cares for Grace, but Grace seemed to ignore Jennifer. Grace seems to thrive on the attention regardless of if it hurts Jennifer. I don't know how Jennifer handles it, but if I were in that situation I'd be hurt and offended.
Tale 4: Lydia
Lydia seems to be the goody goody two shoes. But just like everyone else Lydia has her personal struggles, and can't be perfect in everything. (No one can, in case you were wondering) Lydia tries her best to do the right thing. Brittany made a bad choice that could greatly effect other people and Lydia found out. Lydia told the teacher about Brittany's bad choice with the understanding that Brittany wouldn't find out that Lydia said it. The teacher told Brittany what Lydia said, and that Lydia was the one who said it. Brittany proceeded to turn everyone against Lydia, and Lydia felt so alone that she stopped attending that class for a while.
So basically the goal is not to reveal the identities of Lydia, Brittany, Grace, Jennifer, Jane, Ashley, Christine or Jane. Its more of a cautionary tale... directed mainly towards teenage girls in high school. In retrospect I wish for a few things...
1) I wish I would have been more careful with what I said, so as to not cause offense.
2) I wish I would have gone out of my way to make others feel welcome and included.
3) I wish I would have been slower to take offense, although I know it isn't entirely avoidable.
Here's the kicker for the Mormon girls who read my blog... yes school friends you can learn from this too... everyone causes offense and gets offended. But here's my words to LDS girls.... be careful what you say and what you do specifically to the girls in your wards and stakes... people get offended and I've seen many families and individuals leave the church and lose their testimonies over offensive comments... here's the biggest kicker of them all... if you read the scriptures, if you're a real Christian at heart you know two things... Judge not that ye be not judged and love thy neighbor as thyself. Don't judge people and make them feel unwelcome, and you don't like being offended so don't offend others.