Words | Bullies | Courage

Yesterday my son told me about an incident at school.

There’s this group of kids, ‘the 5th grade “bullies’. The title is well-earned. They name-call, “stupid”, “b—ch”, , “gay”, etc., proclaim worthlessness of classmates, celebrate when words strike tears, and poke fun at authorities who intervene.

Well my guy has had enough of it. He noticed a classmate caught in the middle and stepped in to help. But when the noon aide approached the situation, he got in trouble too. All of them had to stand at a playground pole, in front of their peers for punishment.

I know, super unfair.

Why did they pay the same price!?

There was no evidence or bandage needed, and no proof of innocence or guilt. So the lunch aide was left dishing out consequences for everyone. Bullying doesn’t always leave physical wounds.

Freedom to speak cutting words is a “get out of jail free card” on the playground, and kids catch onto it quickly. Words go unnoticed too easily.

I’d barely made it to the car with my son before feeling the weight of his day on my chest. How did he get through the rest of the school day? These little souls are emotionally charged with relentless dark intention. — What ever caused all of this pain?

We’ve done this before as a family, sorted out tough situations with peers who pick fights. It sucks. It’s not easy. It’s emotional when your kid is facing stress at school.

‘Hurting people hurt people’ I reminded him. (He has brothers. The concept is easy to understand 🙂 We had a long talk. My kids aren’t perfect angels, and I’m not saying my son is a sort of pacifist all the time. But he really did the right thing here. I’m so proud of him!

I know, bullying is an ancient concern – but that doesn’t make a difference to new generations. Today, the added layer of cyber threat draws our attention. When kids get away with verbal force on the playground, they continue it with screens. They practice these habits online, and it is so destructive. Cyber bullying begins with the heart, and so does the solution.

Kids need assurance that their value is not subjective to someone’s words. Adults, we do too. We cannot give so much power to what other’s say.

Well I didn’t come to peace quickly about the day. My husband was away on a business trip, and dad is so good at sorting these things rationally. I was up past midnight, tossing and turning about the situation, praying and premeditating a conversation for the school office about why this is so common at the school…Will my son be the new target? Does the principal have a plan to deal with this next time?

I wrestle often with emotion for this system we’ve engaged, and how digital freedom plays its part. I ache for what kinds of things those boys will say in a year or two online, if not already. I ache for whoever crosses their paths. And I ache for them, for their hearts. Why are these little ones hurting so badly?

Times of weakness test our faith, and it’s a lesson I keep learning.

As we closed the day, I prayed. Lord, let this day impress my son with kindness and care toward others. Help him to value life of each and every person he meets, regardless of circumstances. Let these things be true with each of us, and our kids.

I’m so proud of my son’s courage. His choice to intervene was powerful, thoughtful, and meaningful. I hope he remembers what it felt like to stand up for what it right. I hope he will do it again.

Even when the system isn’t perfect, it is always worthwhile to stand up for what is right. This is the true act of loving a neighbor. This is what we were made for.

I encourage you to take time with your kids and speak truth to their hearts. There is so much peace that grows out of tough conversations. We want to protect them from life’s challenges, but how much greater is it to send them forward with love?

‘Use wisdom, and it will take care of you. Love wisdom, and it will keep you safe.” {Proverbs 4} Navigate conversations with living word. No one can protect our kids like the one who created them.

As always, thank you for joining here~ Together We Thrive!