Sunday, December 5, 2010

If they could see him through my eyes...

He's just a little guy. He wears glasses and he often has 'asthma shiners', those dark circles under his eyes that many asthma sufferers must endure. He's very thin, to the point that we must buy the jeans with the adjustable waist. He's not a gifted athlete but he's so very smart, typically bringing home A's on his schoolwork and report cards. He is kind, considerate, polite and caring.

These attributes melt my heart every single time I look at him. But they are also the very things that paint the proverbial bulls eye smack in the center of his forehead, making him the perfect target for bullies of all shapes and sizes. I understand this. He looks like the kind of kid who will shrink back from confrontation and just hope you go away and leave him alone. He looks like the kind of kid who will do everything in his power to blend into the background and not attract your attention, thereby avoiding your rude remarks and cruel treatment.

When school started this year and the same ol' stuff started up all over again -- as if there had been no summer break and no opportunity for a change of heart-- frustration set in due to the fact that this has been going on since kindergarten and three years is enough! So I gave my little guy some instructions.

"Stop tolerating it. Tell someone. Tell the teacher. Tell the principal. Tell SOMEONE!" I told him. I knew it was risking even more bullying because of being a 'tattletale'. But I also knew my little guy was being beaten down, not physically but emotionally.

Up until this time we had simply tried to teach him to be the better person. We'd taught him to do his best to turn the other cheek, to defend himself by keeping his calm and not letting it get to him.

But a child can only do that for so long. And as a parent, it's dreadful to have to expect him to do it AT ALL.

I know these kids won't be seeing my blog and that even if they did it would make little difference. But this mother's heart is breaking and I need to get it out. So here I am, typing out my thoughts and feelings and hoping that if one of you out there is going through the same thing, at least maybe now you'll know you're not alone.

I just wish the bullies could see what I see when I look at my little guy.

When you look, you see only a skinny, geeky kid wearing glasses.

*I see a kid with a bright smile and a generous heart.

You see a boy worthy of being the last pick when you're choosing teams at recess.

*I see a boy with such a deep sense of loyalty that he will give his very best for his team, even when it's a game he may not enjoy very much.

You see a kid you can boss around when it suits your needs. Use him then toss him aside when you're done.

*I see a boy who is willing to do anything for a friend and is always happy to give of himself to help others. He could be the very best friend you'd ever have.

You see someone whose discomfort gives you a feeling of power and makes all the other kids think you're really cool.

*I see a kid who doesn't deserve to be the object of your wrath or a rung on your ladder to higher social standing. I see someone who just wants to be your friend.

So this is my plea to you:

Please leave him alone. He can't hurt you by being in the same room with you. Your ego won't be bruised, nor will your social standing be downgraded if you show him the courtesy of not insulting or criticizing him. It is entirely possible for you to acknowledge his existence without torturing him, if you so choose. You can say hello and go on about your business. Or if that's just too much for you to handle, you have the option of ignoring him completely. Honestly, I'd just as soon he never really is your friend because I don't want your example to be the one he follows. I don't ever want him to think it's okay to treat others the way you've treated him.

I would really prefer that you simply leave him alone.
And I don't think that's too much for this mom to ask.


Right now I'm to the point that I'm considering homeschooling. At least for the rest of this year, to give us a chance to get a better grip on this situation and to better prepare him to handle whatever it is that life throws his direction. Kids can be so cruel and mean-spirited. They just don't realize how much damage their words and actions can do. I don't have the answers for the big picture, but I'm diligently searching for the solutions that will work for our family. I owe him that much. He is my responsibility and I must do everything in my power to see to it that he has a safe and happy childhood with every opportunity to become all that I know he can be. There is just so much good in this kid! He is a treasure and we are blessed to have him in our lives.

I just wish that...just for a moment...the bullies could see him through my eyes.