I have a dilemma, if some of you have been following my tweets you know that last night my son had to be taken to the ER. Yeah, on a Friday night the ER is not cool. I mean not that I had something cooler to do...I wish, but anyway! It's not the point! Whether I had something cool to do or not does not take away from the fact that sitting in the ER on a Friday night is not cool.
Why were we there? Because my children and the other neighborhood kids decided to play cops and robbers with the Nerf guns. As they are frolicking in the yard one overzealous boy began to shoot my son point blank range in the eye! Not once, Not twice, but several times. My son is telling him to stop, tries to run away but to no avail. The kid wont let up! And to make matters worse, he began to tease and bully him. Calling him "soft, a sissy, and a wuss." Let me just say for the record: My son is not a wuss! He's just sensitive ;-)...In the end my boy wound up with a corneal abrasion, requiring a topical antibacterial ointment to be applied 4 times a day.
My husband and I are old skool. We grew up in different states, He in the south and I in the north. However, when we were kids, playing with wild abandon on the streets of our neighborhoods we knew how to handle ourselves. If ever I was playing and somebody tried to get bad with me, I got badder. Even If scared I would not back down and run home. I stood my ground and was ready to scrap if I had to, and I still have the scars to prove it. ( really, I do) Growing up partly in Harlem and the Bronx NY, my parents did not take kindly to me coming home saying "I got beat up." That was NOT acceptable. They never encouraged me to fight recklessly, but they did expect me to protect my self if I had to. That's just the way it was.
harlem, circa 1970's
Here is my Dilemma: As we are raising our children in the 21st century, full of awareness of what is socially acceptable, appropriate and what is not, it is hard to turn aside those old school ways. I certainly don't want to encourage my son to use violence to solve his issues, or hold him accountable for not being able to "fight" , but at the same time, I do not want to see him getting his butt whooped in the neighborhood. This is the 3rd or fourth time, this other kid has fought my son.
What does a parent do when you are teaching your child to be loving, kind and respectable to others while other parents are not instilling the same values? We have taught our son to put on the Christlike personality and to turn the other cheek when situations get heated. Walk away, remove himself from the situation. However, unlike the times past kids today don't just slap you a couple of times or beat you up, leaving you with a simple bruise. Kids today are vicious, they will beat you within an inch of your life, sometimes actually taking another child's life. Other kids may join in or watch and cheer from the sidelines.( you've seen the news reports) This leaves me totally freaking out at the thought of the possibilities of what could happen to my children if they don't fight. It is what causes my husband and I go get straight old skool and start telling our kids to "go crazy on that fool, if he starts messin' with you again!" " Beat the crap outta him!" "if you go off on his butt one good time, I bet he'll leave you alone!"
This is just awful to me. I feel so trapped between a rock and a hard place with this situation. We live in the suburbs and are far removed from the city streets that we grew up in. So therefore our children do not have those same natural street smart skills. I never wanted to raise my children in "the hood", but there are times like this that I wish we did, in my own mind it seems that they would be a little tougher and more adept at dealing with bullies.
Goodness, I'm trying to raise these children right and get them to adulthood as decent moral citizens, but it is not easy is it?
Can't we all just get along?....kumbaya people, kumbaya.