COLUMN: Sharon Thomas — May 9, 2014

Sharon
Sharon Thomas
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Standing on my balcony and enjoying the cool air one evening when I heard some commotion down below, a woman walked past this kid who was with his little friends, he was no more than 10-years-old.

She yells out to him, “Hey where have you been? Your mom’s been worried about you cause you haven’t been home in days, she called the cops!” The young boy yelled some profanity at her and told her to mind her own business.

I immediately thought of the mother sitting at home wondering where her child was and asking herself, “Is he safe? How come the cops haven’t found him? Is he eating? Did someone take him?” What was going through the boys mind when he decided to run away from home and cause his mother so much worry? Was he seeking sanctuary, was there abuse or neglect?

I cannot imagine ever losing one of my children to violence or to drug or alcohol abuse. I worry about the friends they make. I wonder if I taught them everything that I possibly could. To be good people, to be kind to others, to stand up against bullies and to use their voices when something doesn't feel right. I thought I covered everything, yet there I was, sitting at my son’s school demanding answers.

I can tell you from experience, listening to your child tell you about his bully is infuriating and it breaks your heart. Like any concerned parent, I had a million questions! When my son went through it, he hid it for weeks. Apparently, it had been going on for some time. His lunch was being taken away daily and he was being pushed around at recess by an older student. I spoke and I ranted to his teacher, his principal and anyone else that would listen. I was his voice, the one that couldn’t speak when he was being threatened.

More importantly, I spoke to my child. I was gentle and compassionate and told him what I had told him a thousand times before, that he should trust me and count on the fact that I would do something about it if anyone ever hurt or threatened him.

I’ll admit, there was a really big part of me that wanted to teach him how to throw a left hook and fight back, like I did when I was his age. Was that the solution? I swore I would never tell my children this, but here goes ... "Back in my day, you met your bully after school, rolled around on the ground, fought it out and the loser knew when to quit. So we would dust ourselves off, shake hands and leave it at that!"

Now our children and schools today have to worry about retaliation in the form of guns, home invasions, and knives! What the hell???"

After all the investigating, I found out real quick that my son's bully had a father who was in jail for beating his mother. I remember feeling sad for the little boy that was bullying my son. I could not, and still can’t, imagine the violence he must have seen at home. And then I saw the bully, he was a couple years older than my son, unkempt and looked very sullen and withdrawn.

He never knew I saw him or even knew his name.

I requested a meeting with the mother, but she never showed. I remember telling the principal, "She probably doesn’t care or think anything of it." I wonder now, will that little boy end up on the street like the one I saw a couple nights ago?

Not much I can do about the kids that run in the streets with their friends late at night, but it will be a cold day in hell before I allow it in my home.

Happy Mother's Day ladies!

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