My little boy handed me a note from his teacher. Along with a flower he had picked for me himself. With a tremendous amount of uncertainty in his eyes and a heart overflowing with regret.
He was truly sorry even before I read the words written on the note in bright pink handwriting. He was visually remorseful for everything that I was about to read.
“Rockefeller was involved in a pushing incident. We all talked about keeping our hands to ourselves and being a kind friend.”
Really?! Pushing?! My son?!
Could our prayers FINALLY have been answered!?
I really couldn’t believe it! My husband and I had only been BEGGING our son for all of last year to please stand up for himself whilst his bully made him his own personal punching bag. But to no avail!
Taking A Toll
Letters to the teacher were not working. And the damage was really taking a toll physically, emotionally- even financially with this bully not only forcefully taking my son’s lunch money off him but also destroying his personal property.
In fact, I refused to buy my son the lunchbox that he desperately wanted until he started back at school this year, just so I could be sure whether his bully would still be in my son’s class – in which case I wouldn’t be investing in anything nice for my son just for the bully to intentionally break!
Believe me, I feel awful having to let something like that dictate whether I can buy my son an expensive lunchbox or not. But honestly, from experience it simply isn’t worth the heartache of not only having a bully jump on your child’s lunchbox until it breaks – but then not being able to afford to replace it!
My emotions were all over the place. But I couldn’t let my little boy see how I felt. And so I remained completely neutral.
“Tell me exactly what happened,” I said to him as his tiny little six-year-old-self stood in front of me looking in my eyes trying to see where he stood with me as I sat in front of him.
We held hands. And he began a story which not only blew my mind, but made my heart burst with pride.
“Mummy, today I was playing with my friends, but then I saw the bully punching a boy even smaller than me. I ran over and yelled at him to stop three times. But he wouldn’t stop. And I was scared so I pushed the bully off him so the little boy wouldn’t die.”
My son had just done something for someone else that he has never even been able to do for himself. Something which no other child has done for him. And something I desperately wanted to know he was capable of doing. Being brave. Not feeling defeated. Standing up for what is right.
I was concerned that my son was allowing this bully to hurt him out of fear. But now I could see that my son allows this child to do what he does to him because just as everyone else does – he expects this behaviour from the bully. And their hands are tied.
Just last week the bully punched my son in the face and was sent home with a note to his parents. Yet no incident report was given to me. Because it’s a one-sided hopeless case that can have no resolution other than accepting that this is just the nature of some people.
No matter what the age, or the severity of the violence, the action plan remains the same – consider the perpetrators background, their environmental factors and learn to grow to accept their nature as a reflection of what they have been through or how they were nurtured.
It may feel like a tremendous excuse, but in it lies the greatest lesson of all!
Everyone has a choice. Either we can use our challenging experiences as a step under our feet and rise above, or we can use the trying situations we face as a scapegoat to hurt others.
My son could use the violence he faces from this bully and turn into a bully himself seeking joy from bringing harm to others. Or he could choose to learn from it and rise above.
We have rendered teachers powerless when it comes to resolving bullying issues. And yet, when it comes to dealing with it ourselves at home, how many of us know how to solve the problem? Or even want to.
Turning the other cheek is a fantastic way to live your life, and I am proud that my son is capable of being the bigger person. Stopping someone from being beaten however takes a great amount of courage and I am beyond grateful that he has enough compassion to protect others even though he has never defended himself.
How Do I React?
If we are not careful, those behaviour communication cards that our children bring home acknowledging actions which do not comply to a high moral standard could, with time, turn into far more serious letters from law enforcement officials. And I can’t deny the fact that my little boy brought his first home yesterday, regardless of his intentions, he did put his hands on another human being.
If I high-fived him for rescuing someone it could set him down a path to more letters from the school.
So rather than congratulate him, I will remain neutral. Remind him how important it is for him to keep his hands to himself no matter what awful behaviour he witnesses and continue to hope that eventually the bully’s behaviour stops.
If my son witnesses violence in the future, he will notify a teacher, so they can issue the bully with yet another letter to their parents. And the unwanted physical contact can repeat itself as it has done for over a year now.
After all, the only other outcome would be for the school to brand my child as the bully for trying to do the right thing and stand up to the violence himself due to the school’s lack of power over such situations.
Sometimes it’s only when your prayers are answered that you realise the gravity of what you asked for. I wanted my son to stand up for himself, but in reality he is brave, especially when taking a beating from the bully and not fighting back.
Which now provides me with the opportunity to pray for the bully, their parents and family in hopes that they are able to break the cycle of violence before it’s too late!
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