Encouragement: Growing up is when I needed it the most.

192Encouragement is near and dear to me. Growing up is when I needed it the most. With Jayden starting school in the next year, it pains me to think about him suffering in the ways that I did. He is such a happy little boy and no one as long as I’m his mother, will rob him of that.

I had a rough time growing up. This is the condensed version. I received my share of ridicule in school… because I cherished good grades (before they started to decline), because I wore glasses, because my fourth grade teacher would defend and praise me, because of the figure (in the later years) and stylish threads that I didn’t have. My mother’s response would always be, “oh, they’re just jealous”. Maybe that was the case because the ringleaders who tormented me through fourth grade all were in temporary homes and the other folks were not so bright… Now, I feel sorry for them, but then? Not so much.

Random rudeness continued to follow me for many years. I’d wake up and wonder what ignorant mess I’d have to deal with for the day. Those less than stellar experiences kept me from doing so many things from junior high to high school because of my lack of confidence and motivation to do better. Hearing “you can do it”, at home just wasn’t good enough for me and few teachers in high school actually provided those words anyway. I grew avoidant of school (from 7th-11th grade, I played sick quite often) and people, and sometimes I said or did mean things to others because it felt good for once to be in control. And that’s definitely not how I wanted to be remembered. My academics slipped and I started doing just enough to get by, but I got it together when switching schools my senior year. My, oh, my was the atmosphere much happier. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

The thought of Jayden ever feeling robbed of his childhood, wishing he shoulda, coulda, woulda because of other people’s spitefulness or lack of encouragement when he needed it the most… having those years affect him in his adult life… makes me want to melt into an emotional glop.

It is so important for our children to know that we care, believe in them, and understand the matter we are particularly providing encouragement for. Be their biggest cheerleaders and provide the “why” not just because it’s our jobs as parents or leaders and we love them, but why we think they rock. Make them feel special. Always. And while we’re at it, instill compassion and encourage them to be supportive of others as well. What a wonderful world we would live in.

notefromteacher

Dear Sheena,

Thank you so much for the teacher plaque. It has the sweetest sentiment. It is exactly what I strive to do. Good Luck to you as you graduate. You are a sweetheart & a very hard worker. I know you will be a success! Have a wonderful & beautiful life!

<3 Mrs. Krygier (My 12th grade Chemistry teacher)

I have no idea where this little note is, but I scanned it as soon as I got home. I knew that someday, I’d need to look at it. Six years later, my life is quite wonderful and beautiful.

This post was inspired by Hallmark’s Life Is A Special Occasion campaign. Although Hallmark is compensating me for my participation in this campaign, all dramatic words and tears are my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

If you are looking for inspiring ways to encourage the ones you love, click this link right here and Hallmark will put some right in your inbox.

Hallmark Life Is a Special Occasion

Another read on encouragement: The sister that I never had was right there on Facebook.

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Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.

10 Comments

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    Gerri

    Well, look at you now, Sheena. Happy, doing big things, and beautiful (just like I’m sure you were back then, too). You could probably look at them and laugh right now…but then that would mean you actually CARE what they’re up to. And you don’t. So you just keep it moving and live your beautiful life. Love it.

    • Reply August 23, 2011

      Sheena

      Aww thanks, Gerri. I chuckle inside. A while ago, I tried looking those people up on Facebook. Most of them I can’t find. So I’ll leave it at that. *smiles*

  • Reply August 10, 2011

    Heidi has a Hobby

    What a heartbreaking story with a happy ending (not really ENDING I guess but new chapter???)… I am a teacher and a mom and love the details behind the stories of kids like yourself to remember that acknowledging all the good stuff in kids, especially when they are being hurt in some way or hard on themselves, makes a difference..I am so happy you were able to pull through all the ickiness and be able to raise your boy with so much love and encouragement. I hear the strength in your words and know that he will pick that up from you as well as your compassion and intelligence. :)

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    Erica

    Your life is wonderful and beautiful indeed! You have a beautiful family.

  • Reply August 4, 2011

    Shelly

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing it! You remind me so much of myself. Your life is wonderful and beautiful indeed!

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Sheena

      Oh, bawbi, let me find out who gave you a hard time! *puts up the dukes*

  • Reply August 4, 2011

    Some Lucky Dog

    I’m so glad you’ve been able to work through your unhappy past. You seem to be a wonderful young woman who knows the hard work it takes to accomplish the things you desire. You have a beautiful family and I’m betting Jayden will grow up confident and happy! Your blog is one of my favorites cause of the way you put your heart into it!

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Sheena

      Cindi, that means a lot to me. I’m trying to get back on track, sharing what’s on my mind in between brand work. Thank you for continuing to read and support my little blog :).

  • Reply August 4, 2011

    tracey k in ohio

    Oh Sheena! You have SO touched my heart with this post. More than you know. You & your husband appear to awesome parents & Jayden is clearly the happiest boy in town! LOL! And in spite of what you experienced in your younger years, you, too, are awesome. And beautiful! Great post :-)

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