Reese is RIGHT!

You have seen that Reese Witherspoon is on my short list of Fabulous Moms. I see her time to time, with her kids and alone. She is even prettier and sweeter in person. I saw her On Good Morning America the other day, and she said some things that really struck me.

On being teased as a child:

“Those are sort of formative experiences. I wouldn’t want my children to miss out on any of that teasing and bullying. Don’t you think it kind of makes you who you are — when you don’t make the soccer team ... I was always really short and really underdeveloped and had big Coke bottle glasses. I think that’s where I got a personality from, man. I wouldn’t give any of it back, not a day."

On winning:

"That's the thing that drives me crazy about today: Everybody wins the award, everybody's the MVP? No! They're not, OK? I distinctly recall the two weeks of crying because I didn't make the volleyball team. But it made me interesting, you know?"

Although it is going to be tough when Landon is teased or loses out in something, and I may want to cry my eyes out for him, deep down I know Reese is right. A bit of teasing makes you stand up for yourself and find out who you are. I was teased for being too tall, too skinny, too anything. It really made my sense of humor go through the roof. I started being able to give hysterical come backs that made everyone laugh, thus shutting the bully's down. This sense of humor is now the basis of my writing career and the way I look at life.

The same can be said for winning and losing. I remember that one of the most devastating moments of my life was not making the Varsity Lacrosse team. (Yes that's me in the picture above in the maroon...trying to get past that amazon girl). Here I was, a Junior in High school, with two years of Junior Varsity Lacrosse under my belt. In try outs I could not catch a thing. Turns out my lacrosse stick was cracked. Even when I tried to explain, Coach Sallinger (oh yes I remember her name), said it was too late. I was on JV.

The humiliation nearly killed me. All of my friends had made JV and I was stuck with the freshman and sophomores. I almost quit. I was so angry at my coach I wanted to teach her a lesson. Who knew she was teaching me one.

I had become a little too "Big for my britches" and needed to stop being a ball hog. I was no longer a team player. Being put on JV, made me realize I had to appreciate my team. I pulled the JV team together, acted as a leader, and we were victorious. Half way through the season, coach moved me up to Varsity.

When she moved me she was very complimentary about how hard I had worked and my perseverance. I was honestly sad to leave the JV girls! We had bonded. This was when I learned to never quit, that winning isn't everything, and that I needed to be a team player, themes that still come up even today.

Maybe Landon does need to lose sometimes to find out who he is. Maybe a little teasing would do him some good. Of course I will curse out, under my breath, any little bastard who is mean to him, but first I'll see how he handles it. Maybe it will be a defining moment in his life too.


Feener said...

excellent post ! I love Reese as well. She seems to be one of the few stars who doesn't annoy me. Julia Roberts, George Clooney..they all get on my nerves these days.

i love reese even more now !!

Stylinmama said...

I am in total agreement with this too (maybe we ARE twins!). Things have definitely become too politically correct, everyone makes the team, everyone wins an award. I do think it hurts character building. I had the same JV/Varsity experience in basketball in HS.

Of course, I suspect the moms will not let their kids tease the Phillippe children too much ;)

Somewhere Between Pinot and Pacifiers said...

YES! I would say this is one of those delicate parenting subjects that all parents struggle with-How dare someone not choose/tease/etc. my child, but at the same time you want them to be able to deal with life's letdowns.

I can not imagine when that day comes how I will feel. She is so right and I have always thought she was very well grounded. Great post!

Polly said...

Out of the dozens of girls who tried out for the college drill team one summer day in 1984, only one did not make it. Guess who? And I SO wanted to wear those tall white boots.

Belle in Bloom said...

Yes, those moments are so important BUT, so painful for them and us. We just had a basketball incident. Coach put Older One in as point guard at our last game and the "star" player made a not-so-nice big deal out of it. I have never wanted to strangle a child so badly in my life. My blood pressure must have shot through the roof. Older One ignored it and did his job. I was very proud of him. Then, when we got home, he just went to pieces over the comments. Broke my heart. I know he has to learn these lessons, but I don't know if I'LL survive it. It's hard to be a Mom... :)

I love, love, love Reese.

Mrs. LSL said...

GREAT post! I can totally relate - I always felt awkward (I was 5 ft at 10, and about 89 lbs in senior year of high school) and boys were certainly NOT knocking on my door! I kept a sense of humor about it, and nce everyone caught up to me in height and I put on some pounds, I gained confindence, but my awkward beginnings kept me humble. So I can appreciate that time now! :)

Anonymous said...

My little sister's best friend went to school with Reese in Tennessee. I don't think she was responsible for any of the teasing though... she was a couple years behind Reese.

sas said...

I love Reese too and have since the Man in the Moon! She's so very classy! I too was teased a lot, especially in middle school. Geez, if you look at pictures of me then, it is totally obvious why I was teased. I definitely wouldn't take it made me stronger!

sas said...

I love Reese too and have since the Man in the Moon! She's so very classy! I too was teased a lot, especially in middle school. Geez, if you look at pictures of me then, it is totally obvious why I was teased. I definitely wouldn't take it made me stronger!

lizziefitz said...

Love everything you wrote. So true. I have to tell you that one of the best times of my day is carpool. Just my kids home from school. It is just us and we say anything! We call teachers by their first names only and talk about the looks and mean things the other kids did. We talk about how they must all be hormonal, PMSing,and in need of therapy. Then we end it with we will have to pray for them. Just like my mom ended every venting session with me.:)

lizziefitz said...

Love everything you wrote. So true. I have to tell you that one of the best times of my day is carpool. Just my kids home from school. It is just us and we say anything! We call teachers by their first names only and talk about the looks and mean things the other kids did. We talk about how they must all be hormonal, PMSing,and in need of therapy. Then we end it with we will have to pray for them. Just like my mom ended every venting session with me.:)

Anonymous said...

BTW - You were so right about The Glass Castle. What horrible, selfish parents! Where were Child Protective Services? Those poor kids.

It would make a great film though. Do you know if anyone has bought the rights so it could be adapted? If they could find a young Tatum O'Neal (have you seen Paper Moon?) type to play the narrator...

Mom on the Run said...

I so hate the "gotta have a trophy" for everything. DOTR was the meanest coach of all time because he would never let the team mom order everybody trophies unless the team earned it (meaning they came in first or second in the regular season or first or second in the post season tournament). Meanie!

I love your celebrity sitings. I so remember going to dinner with friends in LA and she said "look around for celebrities, they love this restaurant!"

Self Confessed Lamp Tramp said...

What a wonderful, truth spoken post. Made me cry, thinking of my kids and all the bitter, difficult lessons we learned with them through their sports and school activities. You've got it mentally together before Landon is exposed to all these things. You are a Fabulous Mom!

Karen said...

I saw that interview with Reece...she is so great! I agree, I think our life experiences shape us into who we are today. It's okay to be teased or to not make'll learn something from it. Great post once again!!


Liz said...

I loved this post. Reese is so right about how things like that shape who we are. I love her and love that through all the Hollywood hupla she seems to have stayed preety sane and normal.

The 5 Bickies said...

Another great post from you! I do remember all of those disappointments in middle and high school. As a Mom it is hard to watch your kids suffer but I agree that as a general rule, parents try too hard to protect their children from disappointment. I even find this with grading at children think all of their work is perfect because they have done away with all grading scale in elementary school. They looked at me like I was an alien when I explained to them that what they thought was a very good score on a test (16/27) was actually very average, at best. I'm sure it will only get more interesting as they get older!

Thanks for your thoughtful post!

Caffeine Court said...

First of all, I'm with you all, I love Reese!

Your post reminds me of a story. Last year when I was chairing the art show at my daughter's school I suggested that some of the school's most artistically talented children should paint the front windows of the school.

Bad move!! All the other mothers almost screamed..."You can't do that! It would hurt the other children's feelings! It's not fair!"

Huh? I couldn't believe it. Why not give someone some recognition for their talent. The other children could handle it.

I don't think all this coddling is good for them.

Maddie said...

Awesome post! How can anyone truly appreciate the earned trophy or spot on the team or kind words if that's all they've ever known. You cannot really know true joy if you've never experienced grief.

Kiki said...

I think I can echo everyone else when I say you hit the nail on the head with this only addendum is that while I got it hard growing up, teasing and not egtting picked for teams and dating... at home, my sisters and I were not allowed to tease each other and no name calling. My mom wanted our house to be a safe place to fall. A refuge. We knew that when we walked in the door we were on "base" and nothing would hurt us here. Not that it was perfect, we got in trouble and had our fair share of spankings for bad behaviour. But the knowledge that your family has your back makes it easier to find your way.

Lori said...

Great post~ I like the things that she said, especially about winning.
Cute picture! :)

fireboy said...

Hate to put a pin in all the Reese-love going on here, but I call B.S.

She speaks from the position of young, beautiful and rich. (And is not to be blamed for that. It's her life. She can only express from her experience, but-) I find it ludicrous that she would stand by and not intervene if one of her two children were being bullied and teased, shrugging her shoulders and saying "Well, that's actually good for you, Deacon. It'll make you a better man." No, no, no.

The idea that bullying and teasing is somehow good for children (or anyone for that matter) is patently ridiculous. And to allow it, to "not save" your children from it is a horrible recipe for parenting. Think it all the way through - Ask anyone who has been overweight their entire life and been teased for it how it has "made them who they are". Tell the socially awkward adult who has never been kissed, has no hope of ever being on a date because he was ruthlessly ridiculed, how it was an important part of his character-building. The teasing and bullying of human beings has no good purpose. None. Don't justify bad behavior as a rationalization for how it helped you become one of the entitled few. Take a long look at those who didn't having loving, stable parents at home to help guide them through the rough patches. Their suffering is all around you. They have not recovered from the unkind words, the snickering and deep wounds of childhood. Which leads me to my second rant:

Why is everyone in such a hurry to teach our children "life lessons"? They are going to get those soon enough. This is the idea behind "everyone wins". The ultra-competitive world is gonna force the "earned value" idea on them soon enough. Let's reward them for just being who they are for as long as we can. Let's make preserving their joy a priority over teaching them that there are "winners" and "losers" in this life.

Anonymous said...

It is my feeling that it is our responsibility as parents to arm and educate our children with the coping skills necessary to resolve all (or as many as we can foresee)issues. Whether it be with whits & words, or fisticuffs, I would want my children to be able to cope with "real world" confrontations. More often than not, as they grow older and more independent, we will not be there to step in, and hopefully what we've taught them will kick in and they'll be able to handle life on their own, which is the objective of raising them after all. Providing them with conflict resolving skills will allow them to remain children longer than if they feel overwhelmed by, and unable to cope with, the world they live in. That said, if things got out of hand in my presence, I would step in to help resolve the issue.

We are all much more carefree when we have the skills to protect and defend ourselves, and our loved ones.

-The Mr.

kenady said...

Gosh, I don't think I am allowed to go on vacation anymore:) I have missed some gems on your blog!

Great post. Way to talk about some issues that are not always easy to talk about. And to suffer the comments that come, although there are some great points.

We all relate to our own life experiences when it comes to the teasing and the bullying and I must say that at some point in most of our lives, we have probably been the bully and the bullied.

I grew up a military brat... moving every 2 years or so. This is not an easy feat on an adolescent... any adolescent! But my hardest years hit when I we moved to a new school midway through my 7th grade year. Most of the kids had known each other their whole lives and there was no room for someone new. I was tormented, tortured and picked on for the back half of that year. I hated school and had not desire to go. I expressed this through tears almost everyday of my life. My mother suffered with me and without my knowledge went to the school, talked with the guidance couselors, went to the bullies' mothers, etc. It only made matters worse (although, I did not know why). Eventually I was befriended and I survived those awful years. I entered high school a more considerate, kind person. And I met my best friend for the past 18 years and then life was fantastic! But I survived. I would not wish it on any other human being. And I would never want to relive those years. The book is closed and I have moved on. And I appreciate my mother trying to help... it means she loves me and there is nothing more precious than a mother's love.

Now that that long winded story is over... do I feel like a better person for all of that? Sure, I learned to be kind and I always take the new kids under my wing... even now, just ask Kiki:)

PS I love Reese Witherspoon. She seems so down to earth. And if a movie was to be made about my life, she would be the actress I would want to play me:)