We all like to label things. If it doesn’t have a label, then it doesn’t make any sense to us. We even have label makers so that we can label our things. Apparently the names they were assigned by their makers don’t really work for us. We have to give them names that fit our views and make sense to us.
Labels are fine for things, but when we start labeling people we start building walls around them and around ourselves. But our lives need to be about building bridges instead of building walls. It’s what Jesus did and it’s what He said we are to do.
I have found that the only thing usually necessary for us to label someone is for them to hold a different point of view than ours. When people don’t agree with us we choose to call them “difficult” or “stupid” and we usually do it at high volume in an unpleasant tone. I suppose adults calling other adults names can and does present problems, but at least it’s between adults.
Sadly, that’s not where it stops because we label kids a lot too. Those labels are frequently assigned to the kids at school. If a kid doesn’t sit still they are labeled as “disruptive” or if they talk a lot they are labeled as “disrespective.” If they fidget they get sent to the principal’s office of if they need to stand instead of sit they are called “difficult.” There is no shortage of labels waiting to be assigned to our children. I could list many more but you get the point. If your kid has a few of these issues working together then they are given the label that follows them forever. They will be known from that day forward as a “bad kid.”
The problem though is when we assign labels to a child, not because of their behavior, but because someone mistreated them. Foster kids are often labeled as “bad” or “trouble” and I know they have matching behaviors that get them labeled as such. But the problem lies in the fact that they are assigned these labels before they “earn” them. Remember that they are foster kids because something was done to them. They are not dirty or troubled. They are scared and confused. Let’s give them a chance.
I know that most/all kids have behavioral issues (I’m talking about the general population here) but they usually have to do something to lose the trust of others. However, trust vanishes when most people learn that a kid is in foster care. That’s not right. There’s no justice there. They’re not helping, they’re just making it worse.
I have seen people overreact in amazing way to foster kids and I get that their stories can be scary. But pushing them away is just another scary event for them. Remember these kids didn’t do anything to end up in foster care. They never invited the abuse. Let’s remember they are the victims here. Let’s not add emotional abuse to the physical abuse they have already endured.
We must reclaim the name given to our kids by their maker. Names like precious one and child of God. Let’s get into the business of reputation fixing. Let’s trust and fight for these kids right to get a fair shake.