Whisper of Doubt

Abby glanced from Lizzy to her mother.  Her voice rose.  “Mama, is Lizzy chubby or fat?”

Lizzy watched with rounded eyes, waiting to hear the pronouncement from Abby’s mother.

“Oh, Abby.  Lizzy is both chubby and fat.”  Abby and her mother broke into mouth-wide-open laughter as they sauntered away.  Tears pooled in Lizzy’s eyes.  She blinked hard and dropped her gaze to the floor.  Her mother knelt before her and lifted her chin.

“Never mind them, you are beautiful.”

But, a whisper of doubt was planted deep in Lizzy’s heart.

~~

Sadly, this story is based on a conversation I overheard in the locker room after my swim the other day. The two little girls were only around five-years-old.

May we never be cruel but always kind!

~~

This piece is my contribution to “Friday Fictioneers,” a weekly challenge hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff Fields.  With the help of a photo prompt to inspire, we are to write a 100-word story.  This week’s photo was contributed by J. Hardy Carroll. If you would like to join in with this encouraging group of writers or read their stories from this week, visit HERE.

 

 

64 Comments Add yours

  1. Children don’t always realise they are being cruel, but parents should. I so agree with your final few words.

    My story – ‘A stab in the dark’

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That is certainly true. I of course felt bad for little Lizzy, but also for Abby. She’s so young to understand why that comment would hurt someone’s feelings unless she has been taught, along with the laughter. Thanks for reading, Keith, and for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. draliman says:

    Abby doesn’t stand much chance of growing up to be a kind person with a mother like that 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very true. Our children aren’t born with a mean streak. It’s not easy to raise a child, but to knowingly teach a child to be cruel is terrible. (Sorry, I’m on a rant…) Thank you for reading and commenting. =)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Brenda,

    Abby’s learning at an early age how to be cruel. How sad. Well written.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for commenting on the writing, Rochelle. I had to write the story, the incident has been on my heart …

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It certainly is. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Tina!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. granonine says:

    That’s where it begins, our sense of unworthiness and shame over who we are. A few unkind words, spoken with no concern for their impact on the heart of a child.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It certainly does, that shadow or whisper of doubt. “Am I beautiful?” “Am I good enough?” Thank you so much for commenting, Linda! =)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. neilmacdon says:

    Children just call it as they see it. It’s adults who teach them what that means

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very true, they often don’t have a good or bad intent in their comment. Abby learned what words and how to use them to hurt at so young an age.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. msjadeli says:

      I love your comment, Neil. It was time for a teaching moment for the mother and she taught alright. She taught harming another’s spirit is ok.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. plaridel says:

    people must learn to be sensitive to others’ feelings. sticks and stones may break bones, but words can hurt too.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree. It would be a better place if we were all more sensitive. Words certainly do hurt! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. notestowomen says:

    It’s so sad that girls of any age, especially as young as 5, are having these types of conversations. Adults, especially parents, need to be more sensitive. Words hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Girls that age mock and laugh at others because of what they have learned from the significant adults in their lives. It’s truly very sad. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Iain Kelly says:

    Such a sad little scene, and one that will unfortunately probably stick with her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The hurt on the little girl’s face was indeed the saddest part and the thought that comments like these might lower her own self-esteem.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. msjadeli says:

        It is truly shocking that the mother said that in front of the poor girl. Not only did she encourage cruelty in her daughter, she harmed the other girl as well 😦

        Like

  9. Ive said it once and ill say it again, children can be cruel but without realising what they have done

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They can, that’s why they need the adults in their lives to teach them and encourage them in how to be sensitive to others and kind.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I have to blame Abby’s mother for allowing her daughter to think cruelty towards others is okay – and how sad that this is based this on a real event! Well told, Brenda.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Susan, for your encouragement on the writing. It is sad indeed.

      Like

  11. People think that kids are always resilient and while they are, they can also remember those little slights and put downs their entire lives. It’s too bad when they get wounded that young.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Words can hurt and do sink in, unfortunately. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      Like

  12. Abhijit Ray says:

    This is very cruel, indeed. I feel sorry for Abby’s mother. It reminds me the famous saying, “growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Abhijit.

      Like

  13. That would have been the perfect time for Abby’s mother to teach kindness and she did just the opposite and caused another child to suffer. Some people are totally lacking in empathy and this can be passed on to their children. What a shame. A good story based on reality, Brenda. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for commenting, Suzanne. I thought the same, it could have been a teachable moment.

      Like

  14. Tannille says:

    Even as jokes these comments stick.
    Great realism B.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting, Tannille.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Now that is really cruel. Words can deliver so much more long-lasting pain than a cattle prod. No laughing here.
    As for the real life situation, it’s so hard to know when to interfere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have to admit, I couldn’t help myself and quietly said to Abby’s mother, “That wasn’t kind.” She laughed even more before leaving the locker room. Not a good example for her daughter for sure. Thank you for commenting!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. pennygadd51 says:

        Abby’s mother may have laughed at your comment, but I bet when she thought about it, she realised the truth of your statement. Well done you, taking action for a kinder, more loving world.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I so appreciate your comment, Penny! It would be nice if she realizes her actions were unkind.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. trentpmcd says:

    Wow, what a mean mom. I can’t understand how an adult can be cruel to a child like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m with you, Trent. To be cruel to a child, to make them feel less about themselves, is atrocious. So sad…

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Dale says:

    What an awful person Abby is being brought up to be…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure, she has little chance of developing into a kind-hearted person. There is always hope though I suppose. Thank you for commenting, Dale. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  18. aheartforafrica641064503 says:

    What a bad example to set for a child. Shame on Abby’s mother.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For sure, her mother is doing Abby a grave disservice. Thank you for commenting. =)

      Like

  19. bearmkwa says:

    “Smack-a-Momma” is here! How nasty and mean!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was certainly mean! Thank you for commenting. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  20. This brought a tear to my eye. I was one of those kids in grade school that other girls made fun of: short hair, glasses, dresses purchased at Goodwill. Kids can be cruel, but parents should definitely know better. Well done.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so sorry, Alicia, that the story brought up difficult memories. I hate that you received that kind of pain from others. Kids can be cruel, that is for sure and what makes matters worse is when the adults in their lives encourage them to be. Thank you for reading and commenting. Take care!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Prior... says:

      Had to chime in – and now Alicia – you are likely the more contented and overall healthy – that is sometimes the best payback – just live a wonderful
      Life – write – and thrive!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Kids can be unwittingly cruel, it’s up to the adults to guide them away from it, not reinforce the behaviour by joining in. You witnessed a truly upsetting event.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It was indeed. I was flabbergasted to see such blatant meanness. Thanks so much for commenting, Michael!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. pennygadd51 says:

    That’s a very imaginative take on the prompt; well done for that. You tell the story with great simplicity and emotional truthfulness, and that makes it poignant and powerful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m smiling at your comment, it is very encouraging on my writing. =)

      Like

  23. This is sickening… and the fact that it’s true makes it even worse… Abby’s mother sounds like the worst kind of woman.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate you reading the story and commenting. It is sad indeed.

      Like

  24. This sounds exactly like what happened to my daughter during her childhood. It scarred her for life. A hundred years ago girls who were a little overweight were considered attractive. Unfortunately, modern society have put a premium on being slender.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so sorry to hear of your daughter’s pain, Russell. It makes me sad that the cruelty of others scarred her. It’s true that there was a time when bone thin was not attractive. =(

      Like

  25. Prior... says:

    Wow – crazy how this is based on a true convo you overheard –
    Sounds like the mom here is helpful but whew – so many children today are just flooded with the putdowns -nice fiction to go with this topic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It happened quite fast and I was shocked and saddened. Little Lizzy looked so sad. Thank you for reading and commenting! =)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prior... says:

        Sometimes I speak up after something like that – sometimes I don’t – it depends – like one time when a cashier was rude to a mom and her son I was in the exit area and walked up and said I thightnthey were classy and looked at the boy and said directly
        To him – you have very nice manners – he smiled
        And sometimes we can rally against those forces and put down spirits –
        But whew – it can be tough
        And “hurt people hurt people” so sometimes I pity the ones who dispense the crap A like those two you witnessed – they live in their own misery and really will lack contentment – so the joke is on them – hmmm

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Unfortunately, I rarely say anything. I’m a little slow on the uptake and often time goes by and I think, “No … Wait a minute!…” Especially when the interactions are quick. That was an encouraging thing to say to the little boy. He was probably confused about why someone was rude to his mother. Take care! =)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Prior... says:

        yes – I am sometimes way delayed with an idea of what to say (and too late) – but other times it happens naturally and on time – maybe the other times are practice times – oh I dunno
        and hope your week is going nicely

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is. Thank you for reading and commenting, Dawn.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Sad that we are still weight shaming kids and adults without knowing the issues behind the weight.
    For sure, another form of rejection and bullying. Nicely written, Brenda. Happy Hump Day !!!!
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Isadora. Had a busy “hump” day and looking forward to the weekend. =) Little Lizzy wasn’t even overweight, she was quite thin. Abby had discovered words that she learned to be hurtful and threw them at Lizzy like a dart. It’s a headscratcher. Why be cruel? Why encourage your child to be cruel? No answers…

      Like

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