Monday, September 19, 2011

Bullying makes me want to kick some ass

Once a week, we drive our son to a music class out west.  While Sam plays his glockenspiel and dulcimer, his little sisters and I find something to occupy ourselves for an hour.

Tonight, we decided to try out a park down the hill.  This play area is one that we hadn't frequented before, but it appeared to be way cooler than the midtown ones near our home.  Complete with two rock climbing walls, three twisty slides, a motorcycle and swings, we were in Heaven.

As we approached, I noticed a group of five or six older elementary/maybe middle school boys throwing a football.  Paying little attention, I sang the "A,B, C's" to our four-year old daughter and enjoyed the sun on my face.

The tone of our outing took a dive when I turned to see one of the boys kicking, punching, and yelling obscenities at another boy who pulled up on a bike to play.  Pissed as all get out, I walked over to the scene and attempted to be the fair witness...the one who says, "I know what you're doing and you better stop."  The sad thing was it didn't.  The bully continued to jab at the kid while his friends egged him on and seemed to enjoy it.

Within a few seconds, as my blood boiled over, I thought, "Do I intervene?"  "What if this gets more out of control and they hurt my children?"  "Why the hell did I leave my phone in the car?"  "I can't NOT intervene!"  And so, I walked as close as I could get and said, "ENOUGH!"

Miraculously, a middle-aged, crazy mama in yoga pants must command some level of authority because they stopped...but damn, I am still so outraged.  When did it become okay to wail on another?  And why, do others watch as if it's no big deal...especially, because it's not happening to them? 

Once I collected my children and we got into the car, I had a really long conversation about the power of stepping up.  Sam asked if I was scared.  I answered honestly, "absolutely" and then promptly told him, "but, that's when you know that it's the right thing to do."  I'm sure that this is the first of many incidents that I'll be privy to as a parent, so I vow to not stand by in silence.


  1. Way to go! I'm faced with some of those types of situations as a teacher - i think you have to go with your gut. There are some times when it is truly best to let the kids work it out themselves... I think it is good for kids to learn to negotiate their own interactions and resolve their own conflicts. On the other hand, we are the "grown-ups" and we are OBLIGATED to model, confront, explain, insist, and ensure that the weakest are protected. Proud of you!

  2. You're so right, Mattie. I struggled and then thought, "No way, I'm intervening...this is wrong." I'm thankful that I trusted my gut. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened after we left.


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