Monday, September 12, 2011

you is kind, you is smart, you is important

This Saturday I went to a women's retreat. The woman giving the devotional mentioned The Help and my mind could not stop thinking that in a group of women that size somewhere sitting amongst all of us was little Mae Mobley. For those who have not read the book or seen the movie she is the daughter of the character Elizabeth. Elizabeth is worried about her home and impressing her socialite friends and just doesn't take the time to take care of her daughter. She leaves all the care and nurturing to her maid, Aibileen, never holding or encouaging little Mae Mobley. Aibileen decides to use the time she has to instill in Mae Mobley she is special by repeating over and over to her You is kind, You is smart, You is important.  It breaks your heart to see that her own mother doesn't speak words of encouragement or pick her up to soothe her and show her she loves her.

Everyone of us is similar to one of the characters in a certain degree. Are you a Mae Mobley? Someone who didn't recieve a lot of nurturing in your past? Do you hunger for just a small morsel of attention? Do you desire love and care from someone unable to give it?
Or, are you an Elizabeth (top right in lavendar dress)? For whatever reason she doesn't know how to nurture her children. Maybe she is just a product of a mother that was just like her so she just doesn't know.  She spent her time sewing and trying to keep up and impress her socialite friends, hiding a scrape on the table, sewing slipcovers to make her furniture better, trying to make clothes. Her focus is off. She is looking at the wrong thing to make her feel important, and searching for approval from her friends.

Poor, poor Celia! She grew up poor and ends up marrying the well to do Johnny, who just happens to be the ex-boyfriend of Hilly. That alone was enough for her to be an outcast, but the girl is vulumptuous and wears tight and flashy clothing. She didn't ever learn how a lady dresses and is seen as someone who is not as good and a threat. She is so starved for friends that she makes a fool of herself trying to work herself into the group. She has a lot to learn about how to cook and clean and is so afraid that her husband will not see her as deserving, so she pretends she has done it all. You can't help but care for her, I am sure there are a lot of Celias out there. We all can be in situations where we don't feel worthy, craving both friendship and to know our husbands find us worthy.

Oh my, next is Minny Jackson... the mouth of the south. Minny is like a corked bottle that has been shaken and is ready to explode. When that cork pops she says whatever has crossed her mind without thinking of the consequenses. She is abused by her husband, overwhelmed with being a working mom and having to come home tired and take care of her home. She is harsh to her kids, probably trying so hard to live under the abuse and fear of her husband that she can't let down the walls she's built.around herself.  But, the girl can cook, oh can she cook! And she knows how to clean and is good at that part of her job.

Aibileen.  Although she has suffered much she doesn't close herself off to seeing the need to nurture the children she cares for. She tries to instill a sense of worth in them.  She doesn't react  to unjustices, but contemplates the consequenses and meaures how to react, usually stuffing her pain so that she doesn't lose her job or as a way to protect little Mae Mobley. Aibileen risks much to let her voice be heard, but in reality she has lost so much and has just tried to keep going that she probably felt she didn't really have that much more she could lose. I just can't imagine standing quiet, but strong, when someone is demeaning you to your face. Such character!

Hilly Holbrook... strong willed, determined, spiteful, domineering. She thinks her ideas are the best, and will move mountains to get what she wants. People are afraid to be on her wrong side because she will turn her focus on you and work to make your life miserable if you go against her. She has a lot of power and uses it to control people and situations.
And then there is Skeeter, part of the "in" group.  Skeeter comes home from college with a dream to be a writer. Her eyes are opened to how the maids are treated and she misses her maid that raised her and loved her. She grows a strength to stand up against Hilly's strong personality, to make her own life despite what her mother desires for her. She doesn't need the affirmation of a man to feel important. Skeeter is a quiet strength and gives the maids a voice.

So, which character are you most like? Are you insecure, unable to control your mouth, wanting to control everything and everyone, a quiet strength trying to care for others, or a little girl that just desires someone to love and care for her. God knows everything you have felt. He weeps for you. He loves you. He thinks you are special and loves you very much. He's whispering: You are kind, You are Smart, You are important! ... and that's no two slice Hilly chocolate pie!


Jen Leibert said...

I enjoyed this movie! I love the saying I think we all need to say that more often to our own children.

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

I have not seen this movie, but really want to. I am not sure how I got here, but I am a southern girl too, and I am now following.

Ellen said...

I enjoyed that movie so much. It was dne very well, and yes "You is kind, you is samrt and you is important" A lesson we need to live by.