Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson made her way back in the news a couple of weeks ago. While I’ve never watched an episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” I do know the basics:
- Her mother encouraged her toddler to be all kinds of sass in front of a camera.
- There’s sexual and substance abuse in the family.
- People love laughing at the nonsense that was paraded by the family to the public.
Reading Alana’s recent “Her Name Is Not Honey Boo Boo” Teen Vogue interview made me fairly emotional. Sure, firstly, from the perspective of a mom watching a young girl fight for her dignity back (DID WE NOT LEARN OUR LESSON FROM BRITNEY, PEOPLE?!), but also from the perspective of another human.
We are so quick to place people in boxes. I don’t mean that as something we do with menace, but something we do subconsciously. You hear “Honey Boo Boo” and think of embarrassing moments that were some of, what were probably, the darkest times in that CHILD’S life.
We do this in our everyday life with the people we love.
- You see a friend is homeschooling her kids this year and think “Oh God, she’s not the type of person that can handle being home with her kids all day.”
- You see a friend you haven’t seen in person in a while and box them in a category based on his recent, strong, political social media posts.
- You know a woman at church only as the woman who got out of an abusive relationship and now has the dark cloud of single motherhood over her head.
We all have posts Facebook loves to throw in our face from years ago that makes us cringe. We all have times in our lives that we gossiped frequently, or partied too hard, or made bad choices, etc. We know we’ve grown from our darkest times, but wince a little when we run into someone from those times. We wonder what he or she is thinking about us as we talk. We try to prove we’re different and have come a long way.
I recently made amends with someone that I’ve had years of hard feelings towards. While I was telling my best friend about how healthy and amazing of conversation I had with this person that for years I’ve labeled in my head with all sorts of harsh criticism, she responded, “It’s kind of crazy that we subconsciously assume we’re the only ones that are emotionally and mentally maturing.”
We have to let people out of their boxes and let them grow.