Obviously, you're now reading this, so here we go.....
Let's talk about an issue that strikes a cord with many of us. No, it's not religion and it's not politics....well at least not politics as in the who's ruling our country thing....but more like "politics" as in who's ruling our schools.
You see...today, like every other day, I was driving my son to school....and like every other day, I tried to give a little motherly advice. I like to use this precious time I have with the kids to administer a little "word to the wise", with the sincerest hope that it will help them deal with various issues that might arise during the course of the day -- and believe me, there are a lot of issues in middle school.
So, this brings me to why I am writing this post. I'm a bit annoyed at myself. As I drove towards the school and started my little "talk", I was instantly shocked with what was coming out of my mouth. The advice I was giving was not at all what I believed in and I couldn't fathom why I would even suggest this to my child. (in retrospect, my "advice" stemmed more from fear/worry) What did I say? Well, read on.
Now, my son is an artistic and a fairly smart kid. He is as skinny as skinny can be, non-athletic and just down right......"geeky" as he would call himself. He knows he has weaknesses, but most importantly, (and I love this about him) he knows he has strengths....he knows himself and he is comfortable with who he is.
|My son...I wish I could see the world through his eyes|
Luckily and surprisingly, my son really has not be been "bullied" according to him. He has had a few run ins with certain kids, but nothing major - yet. However, because of those incidences, calls from the school and information that was shared with me in confidence by other mothers regarding their kids -- I basically told my son, on that car ride to school, that when it comes to the bullies, "I want you to ignore them and mind your own business"? Say WHAT? .....slap-slap-slappity-slap-slap!
Ugh! Really? Did I really just say that?
I have always taught my kids to try and stay above the fray. But, now it seems more like resignation and defeat:
If they push you, just be the better person....
If they call you names, just try and ignore them.....
If you see kids doing something they shouldn't, stay out of it.....
Well, truth be told, part of me wishes I told him - If they bother you, I want you to...
Yea! That's right!...shuffle-shuffle-punch-punch....take that and that and that!
Let them know that you are not afraid and you will stand up for yourself.
My only hesitation with this plan is that when kids do fight back (and I've seen this happen), they end up being the ones reprimanded....they are either singled out in front of the whole class (which makes things worse), called down to the Principal's office or in some cases suspended. For what?? For finally taking a stand, while the bullies don't even get a slap on the wrist.
So, what are we teaching our kids?
Is this fair or just? What should I be telling my kids? Should I be telling them to turn the other cheek? Shouldn't I be telling them to fight and stand up for themselves and others like them?
My son has only been occasionally picked on and it hasn't really bothered him too much. I think it bothers me more. We are lucky that he is confident in himself and that he embraces his geekiness, despite what the bullies might say or do. But, I can't help wondering if I need to rethink my advice.
It seems like such a hard line to walk....fight - don't fight.... what do you do?
What have you done to help your children cope with injustice in the school hallways?
How have they learned to deal with bullies and what suggestions might you have?
But, all is not lost. Recently, I heard that there was a study that came out showing that when bullies grow up, they end up working for the so called "geeks and nerds". So, in the grand scheme of things..... the bullies may rule the schools but the Geeks Rule the World.
It must have been fate, but as I was writing this post, I came across a very powerful and amazing poem/video by Shane Koyczan. This is a very moving and inspirational.