The second I say the word, "Surrender"... the Lord is banging down my door trying to test me and this new mantra. My prayer this week… "Lord please bless me and watch over me that I don't beat some 14 year old's ass this week."
I picked Max up from his dad's on Wednesday night and like always, when he gets in the car, I ask how his day was...what happened at school... if they worked out hard a swim, etc. I usually get the same three answers of fine; nothing and it was a good workout. But this week he said, "well Alan is back at school, so it sucked", with a long sigh following it.
Now, if you think I am some classy mom who isn't going to name names or call it like I see it... think again. Alan is one of the foreign exchange kids from Africa that goes to Max's school. Max attends a private school, that isn't cheap (for those of us that pay)… and they bring in kids from all over the world to attend this school. I actually love the diversity, but a lot of these kids are brought in 100% for sports… they are amazing football, baseball, basketball and soccer players. I will let you form your own conclusion there.
For the past several months, I have listened to Max tell me the crap this kid talks to teachers, other kids, girls, etc.. He has told me some stuff that Alan has said to him and I try to tell him to ignore it and steer clear of him or to not care what he thinks... typical bullying advice. I have resorted to this well behaved adult talk because my boys, God bless them, are tender hearted and don't ever do what I initially say which is, "grab him by the shirt or neck, ram him up against the wall and tell him to never speak your name out of his mouth again."
I don't feel one bit bad in saying that or if my kids actually did it because folks, there comes a point in your life where you can and should defend or stick up for yourself. Anyone who knew me growing up knows that I did not take any shit from anyone... there were times that I got my ass handed to me (like the Butler Middle School Girls Basketball Game:)) but I stuck up for myself, my friends and my family (I have been known to fight dudes off that picked on my brother, prior to his growth spurt... giving him shit was my job and no one else's). I have told my kids that they better NEVER start anything, treat people kindly and with respect but they can sure as hell always defend themselves.
So after some prying, as to why he lets this Alan kid get to him, he tells me that Alan told him, "he should quit eating forever because he's fat," "he should do nothing but go to the gym every waking moment because he's disgusting, "he is, "huge and no girls will ever like him," etc. Max of course was choked up when he told me because he felt complete shame. Shame from some shit head kid that thinks he can talk to others this way. Again, no shame in my game... if your kid is a bully and talks to others this way then your kid is a shit head too.
Max is a big kid... he is taller than me, wears a shoe size 10.5 and has broad shoulders... as an 8th grader. He swims on a competitive swim team three days a week for two hours a day and snowboards. He is by no means what this kid is insinuating. Max has the biggest heart and is darling. How dare some kid make my child feel subpar. I told Max that I was glad he told me and that he had my permission to stand up for himself and tell this kid to shut up and leave him alone. He said he didn't want to get in trouble for saying anything back but what Alan says really hurts. (PAUSE) Here is where we can go wrong parents... when our kids tell us something, depending on what it is, we cannot promise them we will not tell. I learned this from years of coaching high school dance. If you are going to tell me a problem, know that I will be discreet but, in order to fix it... I need to be able to bring the parties involved in for a discussion or the issue never gets fixed.
I told Max that I was going to let the Principal know because the behavior is past the infancy stage. He said, "I don't want everyone to know that I told my mom and she got him in trouble." I said if it is handled right, that won't be a problem Max, but can you imagine the things he says to others...? Someone has to stop this so we have to be brave enough to do that. He agreed and asked what would happen... I told him that his Principal would probably call him in and if he wanted me to be there I could but to just tell her the truth on the things he has said to you over the past several months.
I got home, sat down at my computer and composed an email to the Principal that I would follow up on the next morning. Fortunately, the principal emailed me back the next morning and said she had talked to Alan and told him the behavior needed to cease and what the consequences were if it didn't. She called Max in and got the story from him first hand and apologized to him. She reiterated to me that the school has a no tolerance policy on bullying. When I picked Max up I asked him how it went... he told me the same story and said he was glad because Alan didn't even look his way all day or come near him.
I felt at ease, but proceeded to tell Max that there are awful people out there... some who have been so mean to people that those people took their own lives. I told him that he never needs to feel bad to tell an adult what is going on. Bullying cannot be tolerated or ignored. I also reminded him that he should never say hurtful things to anyone because he knows first hand how it feels.
There are two morals to this story... 1- kids are assholes, bullying is NEVER ok and we need to do everything in our power to support them so they feel comfortable to come and tell us and never feel shame for doing so. 2- no matter how big of an asshole their mother is and tries to push her agenda on them... somehow they end up tender hearted! ;)