On the 4th day of school, one of my kids, who usually doesn’t tell me much of what goes on at school, shared something with me. We were sitting down to
one of those perfect “family” dinners, where everyone talks about their day, a slapped together meal of grilled cheese sandwiches and watermelon, because I forgot to start the crockpot that morning, dinners. He shared with me that a 6th grader was already being picked on in class because of his shoes. I’m not going to go into details, but my heart broke for that kid.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell the mom of the bully that her kid is being a jerk. After all, I would certainly want to know if it were my kid. So for the record, I DO want to know if you see my kids doing something they shouldn’t. My poor kids don’t have a chance, LOL! Since I was a teacher in our community for many years, there are lots of eyes out there, that know exactly who they are. I don’t feel bad for them though, it takes a village, after all, right? This incident reminded me of a blog post I just read a few days ago. I bookmarked it because I wanted to mention it here at some point down the road. Little did I know it would be just days, and I’d be inspired to write this post. You can read the original post here: https://www.scarymommy.com/if-my-kid-is-being-an-asshole-tell-me/.
I took the opportunity to talk to my kid(s) about what they could do in a situation like this to help the kid being picked on. I do believe we, as parents can make a positive change with the bullying problems of today. I believe it would be valuable and possibly even more effective, if kids could resolve their own problems. Of course, it’s terrifying for most kids to stand up to a bully whether for themselves or for someone else, but just by planting the seed that they have the ability to make positive change, it gets kids thinking about the power they possess and as time goes on, they may have a little more courage to stand up to a bully. For the kid doing the standing up, he or she will gain confidence. More importantly, for the the victim, having another kid stand up for him, or even just saying a few encouraging words, could be LIFE CHANGING.
One of the most important values I try to instill in my own children and in my clients is that KINDNESS MATTERS. One kind word or act, one smile, can change someones day or even their life. If you have a middle schooler, they are most likely self absorbed and overly dramatic. Getting them to smile might feel like a monumental task. That’s okay! Those are normal character traits for middle schoolers. They are dealing with crazy hormones and an identity crisis all at the same time. But if we practice kindness and encourage our kids to do the same, this world will be a better place for us all.
Going back to the original story about the kid being picked on for his shoes, the shoes he probably liked, and now feels like a loser because some other kid who’s probably unhappy with his own life, but has
cool shoes shoes like everyone else, decided to make him miserable… There is a silver lining. A few days later, another kid brought a pair of his shoes to school to give to the kid who was being picked on. Kuddos to that kid and his parents! Kindness matters. A little goes a long way, and he’s is making a positive difference! By the way, if you know who that kid is, please let me know, I have a little something for him.
Long story short, it takes a village to raise kids. If you’re a parent who wants to know if your kid is being an a&$_ _ _ _, like that article said, tell your friends. They need to know, so they are comfortable telling you. But more importantly, if you plant seeds to help your kids to be more kind and understanding, they will have the power to change lives and you will have less of a chance of hearing from your friends that your kid was being a jerk. If your kid is a jerk from time to time, that’s normal too. Just be sure to take the opportunity to really listen to what’s going on, because chances are… it’s not about the shoes.