I remember the mean girls. I grew up with many of them. I don't believe that I, myself was ever a mean girl, but I know there were times when I would say a mean thing. However, growing up in the public school, and in a Christian home, I was many times the victim of mean girls. I was criticized, taunted, and made fun of by many a mean girl ( and boy). I was the goody tooshoos girl that nobody liked. I was the girl that would play with the special ed kids that all the other girls would make fun of, because I liked them better then the mean girls. I wasn't allowed to do the things that the other girls were allowed to do, and that made me very different. The mean girls don't like different.
Now, I'm not trying to pat myself on the back here for not having been one of those mean girls, because for me, it was only by the grace of God that I was raised differently. I had much potential to be a mean girl, based on my personality. And, as I said, I said my share of mean things about people in Junior High and High School myself....things I regret, and have since repented of.
One question that was raised is how do we keep our daughters from becoming the mean girls. Being a mean girl today seems to be even more involved than the mean girls that I remember. Today, the torment through internet, and cell phones, to the point where a young girl loses so much self respect that she will commit suicide! I've heard that even sometimes the "mean girl" mothers get involved, having never gotten over their own mean girl status!
I have three daughters myself, and they all have potential to become one of those awful mean girls, but my line of defense is the Word of God, and modeling a gentle spirit. I feel that the best way to deal with outword actions is to deal with inward attitudes. If my little girls accept Christ and have the Holy Spirit within them, then that is a wonderful first line of defense, but more needs to be done. They need to learn about the humility and caring, and serving that God calls them to. They can learn that best from their mothers. If we fail to teach our daughters the qualities that God wants them to possess, they may never learn it. They may feel a conviction about their attitude, but never really know how they can replace those attitudes with what is good and right. I also feel that when they are little, we mothers need to not allow them to be mean to others, simply believing that that is natural, and they will grow out of it. Girls have a tendency toward meanness, even with their siblings. Let's show them from early on that being mean is not part of what God wants for their lives. Let's teach them the second most important command that God gives us.....love our neighbors as ourselves. If we raise them to be concerned about serving others, and not thinking about themselves, then they will learn to not be mean. If we teach them about 1Corinthians 13, how love is patient, kind, slow to anger, forgiving....they will learn not to be mean.
Of course, there will always be times when we as women will exhibit meanness, if not in person, then in our thoughts. But, we can work on taking those thoughts captive before they overtake us. Our daughters are the next generation of Titus 2 women, and if we are not purposeful, and proactive in teaching them to love, serve, and speak with kindness, then we may find them choosing to be one of those awful mean girls that we all grew up with, or worse yet....a mean girl adult, who has something negative to say about every other women in the church.
I have always said to my children, that meanness comes from selfishness, and pride when we don't consider others above ourselves as we should. This is also true of adults. When women have nothing to do but criticize others, even in the church, it comes from their own desires to lift themselves up, and make themselves better than others (I know this, because that is where I am coming from when I criticize others). We adult women can also avoid being mean girl busy bodies, if we too seek to think only of others, and how we can serve. If we are busy serving and loving, we will have no need, no place, and no time for meanness! It's a difficult lesson to learn, but it is one that we desperately need in this time where it is so important that we Christian women reach out to this dark world. If I was an unbeliever, I would not be at all interested in a Christ who's women remind me of those mean girls that I grew up with!
These are my thoughts on mean girls, little and grown. I would love to hear the thoughts of others, and don't forget to go to At the Well, to read more about this.
1Corinthians 13 4-8 Love suffers long, and is kind, love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek it's own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things!
If you are reading this and wondering how you can have the same kind of relationship with God that can change your heart, and can help you to not be a mean girl, then let me know, and I would love to discuss this with you.