I remember a conference years ago about why there are bullies. It was explained to me that GOD may make use of bullies to confront our pride. It is not our humility that is confronted. The larger our pride, the larger the confrontation. The same speaker gave another talk about children's pride and parents yelling at children. He said we shouldn't apologize to our kids after we yell at them, because it wasn't their humility that led to the loud voice. He also mentioned that if a child's pride is not broken when they are young, then they will be the instruments to break the parents' pride in the teen years.
All those conferences led me to desire not to feed my children's pride. I saw no way out for me because on my own I was only either going to feed their pride or I was going to try to control it. This led me to Blessed Mother. I began begging for her intercession and intervention in all my interactions with my kids. The answers to my prayers varied depending on the child.
In my house, the older son bullied the younger one. Each time he was bullied, the younger one would run to me and want to complain about his older brother. I would beg Blessed Mother, and with an open begging hand, I would take my younger son to another room and explain to him about his pride. I would explain that GOD has a right to crush his pride using whatever instrument HE chooses. In addition, I would make sure he understood how much I loved him with his big pride. (I knew Blessed Mother was with me because there were hugs...loving eyes...calm voice…not my usual self!).
I can't say that my younger son ever understood or accepted this message, but I can say that he learned how to be a peace keeper sooner than later. I found he didn’t run to me and complain as much because – well – who wants to hear they have big pride?! Now this “younger” son is equally as strong as his older brother. He has a dignity about himself and never lets his older brother get him down.
Meanwhile, the older brother's pride has been crushed because his younger brother has a confidence he doesn't possess - some skills he doesn't have - the ability to make friends more easily. Despite his earlier bullying years, my oldest son is a good boy and likable, but finding his way is often more difficult then the road his younger brother walks. (Little does he know that he helped mold his younger brother with all that bullying!)
It wasn't so easy with my oldest daughter. With her, I wasn't given the miracle of a calm voice, hugs, and loving looks. Instead, I was allowed to see what happens when I handle things on my own. I just squashed, stomped on, and verbally blew all over her pride. With her, I discovered how Christ was crucified by me. I guess I could say I was the "bully" in her situation. For her, it was always reverse. I would have the begging hand AFTER my encounters - begging Blessed Mother to obtain the graces of repair and God's mercy and love to make up for the way I reacted with her. Well...GOD IS merciful and my daughter has had less ramifications from her childhood than I would imagine. She helped me because through her my pride was constantly challenged, my weakness always before my eyes. (Little does she know that she helped mold her mom!)
GOD is good and HE always knows what I need. As a parent, I see how each of my children is a means to my sanctification and to each other's sanctification! Embracing them as they are (with all their weaknesses and pride) is a challenge for me. However, this is why I am entrusted to Blessed Mother. This entrustment becomes two-fold. First, it helps me to understand that I am loved with all my weaknesses and pride, and second, WE (Blessed Mother and me) can embrace my children just as they are!
For the Divine Spouse Who tries hard to conquer the human heart, everything can become a means to make it so that the soul falls in love with Him without reservation. However, other people – our neighbors – fulfill special roles in this matter. This is because of their freedom that does not always submit to God’s will, let alone our will!
God makes use of a difficult neighbor to gradually reveal the whitewashed tomb in us.
The light of faith is very necessary in order for us to see that the light of the Lord, Who is knocking, is hidden under the appearance of the most difficult persons around us. This neighbor alters the order that you have maintained for many years. He crucifies your plans so that at last you may begin to perceive, in the light of faith, the painful truth that you, yourself, are a difficult neighbor.
You should then be grateful not only to God but also to this neighbor who, perhaps unknowingly, is the instrument through whom God serves you, through whom He reveals the truth to you, in order to rescue and heal you. (S.C. Biela, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 13-14. Bold emphasis added.)