It’s easy to forget the hardships that seemed so large at one point and now seem minuscule. It is easy to lose empathy for younger people as they struggle with what seems like meaningless drama and pettiness, but now as I mentor a few younger girls weekly I am starting to remember just how hard life can be as a young teen.
Gossip never goes away and as I talk to these girls and build relationships with them I realize just how young it starts. We’re criticising from the age of 10 and laughing at the expense of others. We build relationships on mutual hate instead of creating a nurturing and loving friendship. Let’s face it– it’s easier to gossip than to have a real conversation. Gossip supplies a never-ending supply of topics and no one feels awkward when gossiping. It’s as addictive as marijuana; It makes us feel good even though it’s just covering up the pain we feel inside.
With gossip being such an easy way to converse, it is impossible to expect girls who have been raised off of this for years to suddenly stop at the height of their emotions. With so many things changing, the allure of shared secrets that create “friendships” is too great to pass up.
I understand the want to know the inside workings of another person’s life. I love a good secret just as much as the next girl. Because of this, I have really had to take a step back and look at my relationships. Who do I enjoy being around? Why do I enjoy being around them? Are they a good influence on me? Am I good influence on them? I have taken the initiative to cut gossip out of my life, but I do not expect others to do the same.
It is the job of parents to raise their kids to avoid gossip and keep them away from the poisonous words at a young age so they do not become reliant on it. The ability to take down another human being with the words from our mouths isn’t something we are born with. We learn to gossip just as we learn to read and write and even speak. We watch as it happens and then begin to follow in the same footsteps.
It is difficult to break an addiction, but it can be done. It must.