Include humility in civility

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My daughter is egocentric beyond belief. She’s a good ballerina. Not the best, not the prettiest, not the hardest working.

Since she got into high school last year, she brags about being a great dancer and that she doesn’t even have to try.

She stopped attending many weekly classes. She dismisses the “poor other slobs” who have to practice all day, everyday.

Recently, she was telling her friend how everyone is jealous of her because she’s the prettiest and most talented dancer at her studio. Her friend made the mistake of saying she was getting a little conceited.

She made snarky remarks back at her friend. I intervened and tried to make light of the situation. My daughter went ballistic. She yelled at me and asked who I was to get in the middle of a fight with her friend.

Her friend quietly walked away. My daughter made a feeble attempt at apologizing, then blew her off saying, “She was lame anyway.”

I don’t know how to make her see that a little humility goes a long way.

Signed,
Humility advocate

Dear advocate,

Unfortunately, the people who act like they’re the best, the most important, most intelligent, best-looking, and most competent are usually the most insecure people.

They mistake confidence for being loud, boastful, arrogant, and entitled.

Many people who display a larger than life ego are really suffering inside with the fear of not being good enough. They cover for it by creating the façade of who they want to be.

When their façade is shattered with the reality that they may not be quite that terrific, they become histrionic about it or aggressive towards those who dispute them.

It’s best to walk away until she calms down.

When she does, express the following:

“You’re a good person who I think may be experiencing some very difficult challenges with dance right now. I think you’re spending a lot of energy on looking great without facing those challenges.

“I want to help you face them so you can feel great, which is more important than putting on the best show of greatness.

“One of the best virtues you can have is humility. Humility is not weakness. Humility means not being arrogant or prideful. It’s being patient when you’re afraid. It’s important to fail and not fear failing because that’s how you learn.

“Being humble makes you strong, because you can overcome hardships, feel powerful, and be teachable.

“You can be courageous and humble at the same time.”

The virtue of humility makes a person great.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

What’s wrong with today’s parents?


Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I’m a mom of two young children and I’ve noticed parents can’t say “no” to their kids or tell them what’s right from wrong.

One parent said to me, when I asked her if her daughter could have some cookies I made, “Well, let me ask her if she thinks it’s a good idea before dinner to have cookies.”

Her daughter said, “Yes, Mommy, I’ll only eat two so I can still eat my dinner.”

Her mom said, “She’s learning to think for herself.” I almost choked. The daughter didn’t learn anything except that she has power over her mom.

My kids looked surprised, as if to say, “She has a choice?”

Don’t get me wrong. I give my kids a choice in simple things, like letting them pick which of two outfits they want to wear.

Parents say their kids are so creative by putting any top together with any pants. What happens when those same kids are bullied for wearing weird combinations?

Of course, I’m not just talking about style. I’m talking about parents who won’t set boundaries. There are other serious issues that require a clear-cut understanding of right and wrong.

I don’t think parents want to tell their kids what to do because they’re afraid their kids won’t like them. Since when did parents become people-pleasers to their kids?

Signed,
Real parent

Dear Parent,

You have observed a few important social tragedies.

Many parents are having a hard time parenting. Just a few thoughts:

Parents need to exercise authority in order to teach children and keep them safe.

Children learn how to be safe emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually through boundaries set by parents.

Parents are the experts who teach children what’s best for them.

Children need to be taught that there are absolutes in this life. It’s good for parents to demonstrate this by saying: stop, don’t, no, yes, and so on.

Parents teach children what’s best for them by example.

Children need strong parents who share their God-given wisdom, talents, and love by being definitive, not wishy-washy.

Strong parents teach kids how to define themselves.

Instead of being a shuttle service from one extracurricular activity to another, parents can spend time together with their kids, doing things such as having dinner together every night and communicating well.

Stop doing all the work for your kids and teach them the value of having a good work ethic.

And stop being a people-pleaser, especially to your kids.

Signed,
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

The Blackmailing Bully

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My neighbor goes to high school with me. He saw my boyfriend and me in my backyard making out. Some of our clothes were off.

He told me afterward he took pictures. He said he was going to put them up on Facebook.

I was super embarrassed. I thought he was kidding, so I laughed. He got angry and said I always thought I was better than he was. He said I’m a snob and I put him down. He said I let everyone at school think I’m such a “good girl” and now everyone’s going to know the truth.

I cried. I thought we were still friends even though we don’t hang out anymore. He told me to stop crying or he’d show them to our parents. I’m so scared.

My parents will kill me. We’re active in our church.

I went to his house and begged him to delete the pictures. He pulled me toward him and said if I have sex with him, he’ll erase them.

I got away.

He threatens me almost every day. I can’t take it. He grabbed me. He shook me. He pulled on my arm trying to get me in the bushes in his backyard. I think he’ll make me have sex with him.

My boyfriend doesn’t know. He’ll get physical with him if he finds out and he might dump me too. I am still a virgin.

How do I stop him from blackmailing me?

Signed,

Blackmailed

Dear Blackmailed and bullied,

He’s relentlessly being aggressive toward you physically, emotionally, and sexually. He’s bullying you and you are his victim.

“Making you have sex with him” is called rape. Right now, he seems to be having fun harassing you. But if it goes any further, you could be in danger.

As difficult as it is, you must tell your parents, even though it may make you feel humiliated. That is a smaller price to pay compared to the psychological damage he’s causing you and what he may still do to you.

Show this letter to your parents. They need to go to the police.

Tell your boyfriend. Decide with your boyfriend to not have sex and roll back the temptation. If he’s unwilling to agree to that, you need to say goodbye. Abstinence is the smart choice. Group dating is wise.

You didn’t ask to be a victim, but you need to make the difficult choice of not staying one. Grieving will be a challenge. Ask your parents to get you professional help.

Signed,

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

Sexual harassment, suicide, and homeschooling

The following letter was written by a courageous girl who overcame bullying, sexual harassment, and suicidal thoughts. She wants to help prevent suicide by sharing her story.

Two years ago, I told my mom on multiple occasions that I was ill and didn’t want to go to school. I became so nervous, I actually made myself sick by throwing up everything I ate. It got so nasty, I didn’t want to leave the house, go anywhere, or be seen. I had panic attacks every time I left our home.

One morning, my mom made me get ready for school. When we got there, I had a panic attack. I told myself to be strong, and that everything would be fine even though it wouldn’t be easy. Mom looked at me and said, “Why don’t you want to go to school?” Then the truth came out.

I was sexually harassed at school.

We reported it to the school officials, and it was swept under the carpet as if it never happened. But it did happen and I was in the worst emotional pain. For months, I asked, “Why me?”

Mom had to hold me while I cried to her for hours. Having it happen to me was hard, but the worst part was that the people I was supposed to trust – the school administration – ignored the fact that it happened.

I suffered depression that almost led me to kill myself.

Thankfully, I have an amazing family, one that is willing to get me sushi and junk food at 3 A.M. A family that’ll talk to me in a closet, hold me, and let me cry.

I’ve had people judge me and tell me I should “Be the light in the darkness,” but they didn’t know why I left school.
Many people were against my decision to be homeschooled, because I needed to “Be a light!” While I tried to be the light, I was tormented and in pain.

I didn’t feel important because my situation was dismissed. I thought it would be easier to take my life.

People ask me if I’ll ever come back to that school, but why would I want to return to a school system that ignored the fact that I was sexually harassed?

My mom said I could take it to the police or to the Lord. I chose the Lord, who has suffered all pains and afflictions.
If you are suffering from depression, sexual harassment, suicidal thoughts or any affliction, take it to the Lord.

But don’t be like me and wait until the last possible moment