• The Hundred Dresses

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    Isn’t it funny how when something crazy is going on in your life and you really need help, how something else just seems to fall into place?
    The Hundred Dresses {Gypsy Magpie}

    via Wikipedia

     

    My oldest daughter has been having some hard times at school lately. I’m not going to go into depth. I’m sure you’ve all heard it before. Lou-Lou is learning about girls, friends, and drama. It’s nothing new in the world, it’s been going on since God made women. We’ve all experienced it in one way or another. But, the whole situation sure has opened my eyes for what the future has in store for my 3 daughters! {I’m scared. Hold me.} I started praying for guidance in helping my daughter handle the situation, and that she could be confident in who she is in the meantime.

    In the midst of all the 1st Grade drama, {Did you know it starts in 1st Grade now? Sheesh!}, my church group was working on a Christmas service project collecting dresses for a women’s shelter in Salt Lake City. The project revolved around a book written in the 1940’s by a woman named Eleanor Estes. In her book, The Hundred Dresses, Ms. Estes brings to life the story of Maddie and the inner struggle she faces as she watches Wanda being teased by the little girls in their class. Maddie ultimately learns the lesson we all hope our children learn, that we should never stand by when we know something is wrong. The book is all the more poignant when you discover that this book was based on the real life childhood experience of the author and the regret she felt over not standing up for a poor Polish classmate in her elementary school class.

    The assignment from our church group was to sit down and read the book to prepare our hearts for the work that we would be doing, gathering a hundred dresses. I was sick at the time and didn’t want to get out of bed and my girls were feeling a little neglected, so I gathered them up and we read the book together. As I read, my little Lou-Lou’s eyes got really big. She listened intently and I could almost see the compassion welling up in her chest as I turned every page. She was still and quiet {which is a miracle all in itself!} as she contemplated while I read. When we’d reached the end, we sat a while and talked about Maddie, Wanda, and the hundred dresses she’d drawn. We talked about my own daughter’s experiences in school. Then, we talked about what being a real friend is, about love, honesty, compassion, and empathy meant.

    The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
    There was my answer.

    I don’t know if this old children’s book changed my daughter’s life.

    But, I do think it left a little imprint on her heart. In life, there are going to be girls who tease. There are going to be times when she feels left out and moments when she feels alone. And, there are probably going to be situations where she will need to stand for the right. My hope for her, and for all my children, is that when she finds herself in that moment, when a little voice whispers to her soul that what is happening is wrong, that she will listen and muster the courage to speak up.

    Maybe it won’t win her friends, but I have no doubt that it will win her self-worth, and that is of far more importance than who she sits by on the bus.

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  • Krista Neil
    8 March 2012
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    I can’t believe how much they are exposed to, I had to have a mini version of “the talk” with Liss, because one of the girls’ older brothers at school decided it would be fun to take pictures of Victoria Secret posters with his phone…tell me it ain’t so. Long gone are the days where our girls can be sweet, innocent and nieve (sp?) :S Heaven help us!