You look forward to hearing about your child’s day at school. The test they got an A on, the song they learned in choir, the book they discovered to be unforgettable.
You don’t look forward to hearing that they saw a fellow student get bullied by a group of 20 kids.
But that is exactly what happened on Friday and my amazing daughter and her two girlfriends came to this boy’s rescue. It was lunch and they heard a bunch of shouting and a crowd gathering. They went and saw in the middle of this crowd was a fellow student being dragged, kicked, his glasses being taken and names being shouted at him. No one was doing anything to help. No one, that is, until my daughter and her two best pals jumped in the middle of the herd and shouted at them to stop. Distracting the group enough so that the boy could crawl away.
My daughter ran to get help from an adult — a yard aid — and instead she got a disinterested, passive grown up waving her off until she finally got him to follow her. By that point the crowd had dispersed and the boy was taken to the nurse. And that was that.
As my daughter relayed this to me she was in tears, angry, scared and concerned.
What happened to him, mama? I didn’t see him in class at the end of the day? Is he okay? Why was I more of the grown up than the grown up?
I had no answer. What I did have was the ability to write a letter to the school and arrange for a meeting where I plan to raise a little mommy hell.
I was so proud of my daughter and her two friends for their courage to stand up to a group of bullies. But I was equally sad that she had to even witness this.
All that goes through my mind is that that is someone’s child. And those kids who were kicking him? They’re someone’s children too.
I remember when I was in middle school picking on a girl with two of my friends. I don’t even remember why we were doing it but I remember as I was doing it I was hating myself. I was an angry, insecure, confused child who had secrets at home that tortured me and I took that torture out on this person. I will never forget the look on the girl’s face as I called her names. It haunted me. Years later I made amends to that person.
Perhaps those children who bullied that boy have secrets. Perhaps they went home hating themselves. Perhaps finding a way to have compassion for them is the best solution.
Kindness always outweighs hate.
And that’s what I told my daughter. Compassion… not acceptance, not even forgiveness at this stage, but compassion for what they must not have at home. For what they aren’t sharing. For what they don’t know. And maybe they will be haunted by what they did… and grow.
And the boy?
At the same time he was experiencing hate… thanks to you, baby, he knew kindness.
And that someone’s child… is mine.