Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Invisible Baggage

A while back,  had been trying to explain to Missy the behavior or one of her friends.  This friend was being mean, not really bullying, just being mean.  But Missy couldn't understand why this friend would act this way.  So after a few attempts that Missy wasn't comprehending, I came up with a phrase that seemed to make sense: "Invisible Baggage".

So here's my Invisible Baggage theory: We all, kids especially, carry an invisible bag at all times.  That bag holds all the stuff a person has dealt with or is dealing with.  Others won't see it, but it's always there.  I explained to Missy that she carries in her invisible baggage her anxiety, a learning disability, a quick temper -- but she also carries love, friendship, kindness, dreams, and generosity.

We got back to talking about her friend being mean, I explained that just because she didn't know what her friend's invisible baggage held, didn't mean it wasn't there.  Maybe her friend carried depression in her baggage.  Maybe she carried a difficult family life.  Maybe she carried a parent who was mean to her.  We talked about the fact that invisible baggage doesn't make it okay to be mean, but it means that maybe we should take just a few minutes to see the reasons behind the behavior.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not excusing severe behavior, bullying, or abuse.  But when life, and friendships don't go smoothly, perhaps it's time to check the baggage.

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