Still Ringing in My Ears


A few months ago, Scott and I visited the Oak Island Lighthouse. Steeped in history, the lighthouse is unique for many reasons; everything from the ship-style staircase (instead of a more traditional circular staircase), to the paint, to the view make the 130-step climb worthwhile.

Oak Island Lighthouse

After doing some research, because we were going to be in the area, we decided to visit the lighthouse and make the climb. Reaching the top with about 25 other people on the tour, we walked out through a bulkhead door to the balcony that winds around the circumference of the lighthouse.

It was crazy windy, and we often had to hold onto the bannister on the balcony to feel stable. I doubt that we would have fallen, but it was a bit daunting to stay out there for any length of time.

The Beautiful Vistas and Narrow Minds

After walking around the entire circle and taking in the beautiful vistas, we walked back into the top level of the lighthouse. The top of the lighthouse was a bit crowded as no one had descended to the bottom yet. I noticed one mother with her two sons, who were about 8 or 10 years old. I could see that the boys were clearly uncomfortable with being so high up. Reluctant to step out the bulkhead door, she – as any mother would – tried to coax them outside and help them conquer their fears.

I was pleased to see her gentle approach to helping the boys overcome this stressful situation, until she said this:

C’mon out with me. Don’t be a girl.

Don’t be a girl?

Don’t be a girl?!

I wanted to show this woman and her boys what a girl could do by punching her in the nose.

But of course, I didn’t.

I said nothing. But inside I was fuming.

It’s Not a Boy/Girl Thing

The women and girls I know would eagerly step out on that lighthouse balcony and enjoy the view. But it’s not a competition to see if boys or girls are tougher. It’s about not putting anyone down. It’s about teaching our children that everyone is capable and each of us have unique gifts to offer. It’s about respecting differences.

I have no idea if those boys ever took that big step out on the balcony, but I am fairly certain that their opinion of females – and themselves – probably dipped in that moment.

I can only hope it’s one time they didn’t listen to their mother.

An Unrelated Post Script

Yes, this is totally unrelated, or is it? Here’s what happened.

Just a few weeks ago, I was taking my mother’s ring to a local jeweler to get resized (a gift for her 80th birthday that I had ordered too small). Anyway, after talking to the lady and getting all of the repair details completed, my daughter and I strolled toward the door, checking out the pretty things in the cases along the way.

So far, so good.

We were almost to the door (so close!), when a gentleman approached.

“Can I show you something?”

“Uh, no thank you. I don’t really need any jewelry,” I replied.

“Sure you do! Just pick something out, bring it home and tell your husband what he bought for you.”

Are you friggen kidding me?? Is what I didn’t say.

Instead I replied (in full earshot of my daugther),

“I don’t have a husband and I don’t need a man to buy me jewelry.”

I was tempted to walk back to the repair desk and take back my mother’s ring, but it was for her, not for me.

And yes, that is still ringing in my ears, too.

Anything still ringing in your ears? I’d love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below.

2 thoughts on “Still Ringing in My Ears

  1. I so understand what you are saying. A few years back I ran I to someone at a class I took frequently. They invited me to a gathering at their home the following day. I was excited about the opportunity to gather with people who thought like me, but her last comment continues to ring in my ears on a regular basis. The comment “I totally forgot about inviting you, you are just one of those people, out of sight, out of mind.” Since that incident, I try very hard to chose my words carefully, you just never know how a comment like that might hurt someone to the core, even though it may not have been meant to be hurtful to begin with.

  2. Yes, being mindful with your speech is so important and often hard to do in the heat of the moment. Thanks for sharing, Shari!

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