Saturday, March 12, 2016

Stomping Poppies

I think poppies are a beautiful flower. Maybe it's because I am partial to red. Maybe it's too much time spent watching The Wizard of Oz. 

No matter the reason, I think poppies are lovely. Even poets felt their beauty was enough to be cherished forever in print.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by John McCrae (1872-1918)

But, did you know there is a context in which poppies are not treated with such respect? I recently learned this term and it makes so much sense to me being the Mom of a child with gifts that others don't have. 
Tall Poppy Syndrome
The tall poppy syndrome is a pejorative term primarily used in the United KingdomAustraliaNew Zealand, and other Anglosphere nations to describe a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. This is similar to begrudgery, the resentment or envy of the success of a peer.
A similar saying occurs in Chinese and Japanese culture that translates to "The nail that stands out gets hammered down". - Wikipedia

I am sure many of you have seen this. We often feel like putting people in their place who we feel are better at us than something, and I am not sure why. So what? They have a talent or are gifted in an area we aren't. It doesn't make us less, inferior, or unworthy. It makes us different. If we all carried the same gifts and talents the world would be boring and no one could find their passion.

But, when you see it happen to a child, it's just sad. We have someone in our lives that does this any chance she gets. She is trying so hard to best us, even when she starts the conversation about our children and asks questions about them. I am thinking she believes we see a Mom who has kids that are far more awesome than our kids. But, what we really see is a woman who is insecure, sad, and full of fear. Instead of thinking her kids are better than mine (by the way, they are in high school and college, hard to compare the accomplishments of a 20 year old to an elementary aged student) I feel sorry for her. I wonder why she needs to cut the heads off the tall poppies in her life. What is she missing that makes her want to do this? Needless to say, we won't be sharing the news of our son being gifted with her. I just can't deal with more poppy stomping. And I won't put my son in her line of fire.

So, we smile, nod, and walk away. There's no reason to engage her. Her desire is to drag our kids and us down, so we don't allow this to happen. The next time you meet up with a Poppy stomper, take a harder look at them. You will see the insecurities and sadness we see in our acquaintance. Once you do, I hope your feelings turn to pity and sadness for their lives rather than anger or frustration at what they are doing. Let your poppies thrive and keep those clipper happy gardeners out because, what they ultimately need, is God. He can fill whatever void they have in their lives that make them desire to hurt others.


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