A few days ago, I was placing my fifth and sixth graders in groups, when I noticed something disturbing. In several instances, as soon as I announced the partnership, there was eye-rolling, heavy sighing, and once, even a muttered, "Oh, great."
This was NOT okay with me. I have eleven students in my class, four boys and seven girls. If there was division this early in a school year, how are we going to make it through the year? And so we had what I like to call a "family chat."
We had just learned in history about different types of governmental systems, so I decided to compare our class to a tribe. The definition of a tribe is: "a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader."
I explained to my precious kiddos that they were a tribe. The eleven of them? They gotta stick together. We talked practically about what this might look like. "If I assign partners, you act enthusiastic about whomever you're with!" "If Chris drops his books in the hall, you all help him pick them up!" "If you hear anyone making fun of your classmates, you stick up for them!" We have to have each other's back.
The next time I assigned partners? Bliss. Kids were smiling. They were enthusiastic. I don't even care that some of them were probably pretending. Eventually, their actions will influence their mindsets, and these kids will be genuine in their care for each other. We are a tribe.
Women, isn't this how we should all be with each other? From the baby girl in my sister-in-law's womb to the great-grandmas pushing 100, shouldn't we be a tribe together?
I read a blog today that said we, as society, have failed Miley Cyrus. I agree. She's making poor choices, but the women in our society have failed to surround one another with love, encouragement, and support. Instead, we are critical and condescending. We roll our eyes at each other. We gossip. We spread rumors based on jealousy. And we wonder why little girls, like these former Disney stars, are growing up to make the choices that they are making.
This new adventure I'm on, Shine Movement, is about forming the tribe that should already exist. The target for the conference is tween girls, but in reality, the movement is multi-generational. We want older teens that will come alongside the younger girls and show them what it means to walk in light. We want moms, aunts, grandmas,sisters, teachers, neighbors, and youth leaders to partner with us so that we can guide the next generation in godliness. Little girls need to be told they are beautiful, but not for beauty's sake. They need to know that their beauty comes from being made in the image of their Creator, that their worth is based on the price He paid for us.
Let's come together, ladies. Let's have each other's back. Let's form a tribe.