"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day, when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking–the first in his life. She told him that he would have to go outside himself and find a switch for her to hit him with.
The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, “Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.”
All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.
And the mother took the boy into her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because if violence begins in the nursery one can raise children into violence.”
There are three things I want you to learn how to say.
“I love you”
and don’t just say it as an empty phrase,
say it with feeling,
say it to every person who comes to mind when you think of those three little words.
I know it’s scary,
I know it’s difficult,
but open yourself up
and shout it.
don’t say it under your breath,
when you love someone,
whether platonically or romantically,
it deserves to be shouted from every rooftop.
There will be some people in your life
that come in and just wreck everything,
they mess up your plans,
they hurt you,
and make you feel less than what you are,
so please learn how to say goodbye to them.
But I also want you to learn how to say goodbye
to even the people you want to stay.
not everyone stays,
and saying goodbye is like setting someone free,
and it won’t always come easy,
and it won’t always come without heartbreak,
but not everyone stays,
and it will do you a world of good to learn how to tell them
“I am worth it.”
there will be waves of sorrow in your life,
and you will feel as if you were the sand that the tide carries away,
you will feel as if it carries away your worth
it will feel like you are the left over rubble of a building
that had been burned down,
and you will feel less,
but please learn to say these words.
say them in the mirror when you have just woken up,
say them when your lover turns their back on you,
say them when you are opening up the refrigerator
and please, believe them.
You are more than sand that can just be washed away,
and you are more than just a few pieces of broken cement,
you are worth it.