|My wise Mom and teasing brother long before this story actually happened!|
A long time ago my really terrific oldest brother used to be quite a tease. The interesting thing is, I don't really remember him tormenting me, but my Mother does, and in talking to her, I have come to think of that teasing as a gift. This is why.
When my brother would tease, I would cry. I remember enough to suspect that he followed me around, or held me down, tapping my head over and over and over again. I would tell my Mom, and she would try to convince my brother to stop -- only it never worked. He always did it again. Finally she sat me down and explained that if I could keep myself from crying when he was teasing me, eventually he would stop. She says that she can remember seeing me desperately trying not to cry, and she was right, once I learned not to react, he did stop.
When my Mom told me this story I knew that this is where I had learned a truth that has been a help to me my whole life. Nobody has a life where everyone always treats them nicely, and I certainly did not. I had big buck teeth, and children are not always kind. I remember getting on the bus to taunts about my rabbit teeth, and I remember keeping my face straight, and telling myself not to react. I knew that they would not keep teasing me day after day if I did not react, and I was right. This was such a powerful thing to know!
This knowledge was helpful in another way. As people were unkind, and I refused to react, and their behavior toward me changed, I came to realize that their teasing was more about what was wrong in their life than what was wrong with me. This knowledge has allowed me to feel compassion for those who have decided to be mean; and that compassion takes away the pain their words or actions could cause.
I am thankful for this knowledge, and I believe that my life has been much easier because of the lesson that I learned from a teasing brother, and a wise mother.