Today started off like any other school day. My son got ready for school and brushed his teeth and washed his face (which is an event because if he had his way, he never would) and then got his supplies ready and put on his shoes. As he was tying his basic Converse Chuck Taylors (the black shoes in the center of the photo), I asked him why he was wearing those again and not the high top red or green ones. My son Alaka'i really wanted the high tops initially which is why I purchased them for him along with a new pair of Chuck Taylors. He told me that some boy at school, let's just call the boy Kasey, told him that the green camo pattern (Alaka'is favorite) were "retarded and ugly". Alaka'i and I sat and had a long talk about how he should wear something because he likes it and not to let what other people, especially bullies think or say influence him otherwise. We talked about how sometimes people say mean things because they are jealous and wish they had something that you own or because they're simply mean. What really impacted Alaka'i was when I told him that if I went to school and offered "Kasey" a pair of the green camo shoes, I guarantee he'd want them. Needless to say that after our conversation, he laced up his green camo Converse high top sneakers and walked to the car with a smile on his face.
My son Alaka'i is no stranger to bullying either. This is not his first time at the rodeo but my sweet boy knows that even if someone hits him or says something mean to him, it's not an excuse for him to hit back or say something equally mean or lame back to them. I told him to either let the teacher know or let me know and we'd handle it. The bullies are lucky he's so passive and nice because my boy is tall for his age and towers over most of his classmates. If he were to let his rage take over, he would knock that brat out. Luckily he listens to my instructions and doesn't do anything because fighting solves nothing. I told him that he should stand up for himself and tell the bully to cut it out and that if it persists, let me know.
I'd be lying if I said that I didn't have some choice words for that little putz "Kasey". I'd love to sling some expletives and cut downs his way. It's hard to not revert to my old habits and my sharp tongue because it had gotten me through being bullied in high school but it also backfired and I got a reputation in school for being mean because of it. I wasn't a Christian then either so now I really have to watch my words and my actions and do what is right. I don't want to teach my son the wrong way, I want him to know how to act and how to do the right thing from the start so he doesn't have to correct any bad habits when he gets older like I do.
Bullies have always been around. I myself have been a victim of bullying in elementary school, so bad at one point that I got beat up and became a loner because of it. In high school there were cliques and some bullying but by then I had toughened up so I would shoot the cut downs right back at them. Did it solve anything? No. I just for the life of me can't understand why some kids feel the need to cut others down to feel more important. Then again, bullying isn't exclusive only to children. In fact, adults bully each other just as much if not more than children. I think that it hurts more when you're a child because you're not jaded and haven't had the chance to develop thick skin. When you're a child you just want to fit in and be liked and accepted. You don't want to be made to feel bad or left out. That's why I believe it's important to give my son a strong sense of self so he doesn't bend his ways and shift his morals to fit in with the crowd. Even with that strong sense of self and a positive self-image, it still stings to get cut down.
Bullies are cowards and morons. If they had brains or real guts, they'd find a better way to get attention than to cut someone else down. Then again, you have to wonder what they have or are enduring at home to bring out this angry and bullying nature. I know my bullies were cut down regularly by their parents and I know others who lived in homes with a lot of fighting and violence and bullying between parents that they witnessed. I feel bad for bullies because they act that way either due to a bad home life or due to a lack of intelligence. Either way it's a losing situation. Having a bad home life is no excuse to be mean, rude or violent towards anyone. If they can't find constructive ways to channel that anger, it will just lead to their demise. A bully's worst enemy is the person they look at when they glance in the mirror.
It's so hard as a parent seeing your child bullied or cut down. I want so badly to protect him and shield him but I can't do that 24/7. I never truly grasped how hard being a parent is. You think when you're pregnant that it will be this adorable dream and it gets progressively harder as they age. I used to think that the hardest part would be all the work taking care of a newborn but it's not. That was fun. The hardest part is watching your child go out into the world and knowing they will be exposed to things and people you would not allow them to see or be associated with if they were with you. That's why it's so important to talk with your children and have that open line of communication with them so that they're not afraid to come to you with anything.