Not Popular Enough
My bubbly junior high school daughter had been quiet for several days. I’m getting used to her hormonal mood swings, but this funk was lasting longer than usual. A few non-invasive, “Are you all right?” inquiries were met with off-handed, “I’m fine” replies. But clearly she was not “all right.”
I’ve learned that teens’ favorite time to spill their guts is late at night. So I casually mentioned that I was going to get ready for bed but was available if needed.
A few minutes later I heard sniffling behind me with a whispered, “Bethany* said I’m just not popular enough.” My heart dropped to my toes. The transition to junior high had been tough, as I knew it would be. New friendships formed, old ones changed. I had tried to prepare my girl for these changes and encouraged her to face this exciting time as an adventure. We both thought that Bethany would be by her side during this adventure. Bethany had been my daughter’s best friend for five years and seemed down-to-earth and loyal and shared similar values.
In junior high school, social status was being determined and my daughter was found lacking. “What determines popularity?” I already knew the answer but was hoping it had changed in 30 years. “Money and meanness,” she sobbed. Nope, still the same.
I knew my daughter would face these challenges. I still find myself questioning my “popularity.” I still secretly covet my neighbor’s new SUV and expensive jeans. I still am tempted to gossip, which is just plain mean. I had not adequately prepared her for this ancient battle of women.
Our family has made very unpopular choices in the world’s eyes, regarding money and time. We have chosen to make eternal investments. But in this moment, holding my weeping daughter, I voiced my temptation to abandon my values and buy her a $100 pair of Miss Me jeans. My daughter gave me her “You are crazy” look and replied, “$100 pair of jeans when there are kids going to bed hungry?!”
I love this kid’s heart. She just needed reminding of her true identity–princess to the King.
Since her fall from popularity, we have been discussing ways to make new friends with similar values and how to still be friendly and loving to her old friends. We have also been studying the Bible to rediscover our true identity in Christ. We are promised an inheritance greater than we can imagine. We are chosen by the King. We belong to Him. You can’t become any more popular than that! (You can print a worksheet, “Since I Am In Christ, By the Grace of God I Am …” by Dr. Joanne Jung in her fantastic post “Do you have green hair?”)
I needed this reminder as much as my daughter did. We women like to compare ourselves to others and usually find we are lacking. But as an adopted daughter of the King of kings, I am precious and treasured!