Sticks and Stones…

Sticks and Stones...

Sticks and Stones…

We all grow up in a world where there are bullies. Most of us, if we are lucky, reach adulthood without too many scars. As a mom, I can now see that the physical scars aren’t really what caused the most damage. The real long-term harm came from the mean things people said and did along the way. Those mean words that planted themselves into our self-image. They play, like broken records, in our minds. The words that we adopt as our own, until we bully ourselves into submission.

My son has been bullied since he was in 2nd grade. The term bully congers up images of a big kid, with big-bad words, and even bigger fists.  My son’s bully doesn’t really fit that description. For him, it’s a group of sweet little boys and girls who somehow, at the age of 7, decided that they would use their big words to call him gay.  Let me repeat.  Age 7.  Over the years their faces have changed, but the mean-spirited and judgmental words have not.  He’s now 10. Three years is a long time in the life of a 10 year old.  That’s 30% of his life.  If I can be so bold… WTF?

Yesterday he came home from school and told me that they’ve upped their ante. The playground monsters have now graduated from terms like: fashionista, gay, girly and girl – to a bigger word “bisexual”.  What do 10 year olds even know about the term “bisexual”? And what has my 10 year old son done to deserve that label?

Let’s see… he plays the violin, sings in the state children’s chorale, loves art and his dream is to someday be a fashion designer. He works hard in school. He’s a good friend and advocate to other kids. He’s respectful.  Okay, so his room is messy, he torments his sister and pushes the envelope at home… none of those things really speak to his sexuality. Nor should they. I repeat. He’s 10.

I think this topic will warrant follow up posts. For today, I’m gonna love on my son. Our home is his safe place.

14 responses to “Sticks and Stones…

  1. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to home school my kiddo and never let her out into the real world. I wouldn’t do either but this bullying mentality has gotten out of control. I have learned that apples never fall far from their trees and little mouths repeat what they’ve heard at home. Do any of the parents know about what is happening? This world has an awful lot of good in it but when the bad is taken out on our children, it’s too much.

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  2. Thanks for piping in. A friend once told me that this is EXACTLY why we HAVE to keep our kids involved in the bigger world… We hold an important role in teaching tolerance and acceptance. Luckily, his school has been spot-on with regard to zero tolerance. Let’s keep the conversation moving. Thanks again for your input!

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  3. I am so sorry to hear that he’s going through this!!! Toby’s been bullied since he was little, too. Just be cause he’s different. And it hurts. It hurts him and it hurts us that he hurts.

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  4. This turns my stomach to think any child is targeted. He is a very lucky boy to have a mom like you… Please bring this up to his teacher…. on the door of the classroom is a poster against bullying!

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    • The school administration has been awesome. Our focus now is to give him skills to feel empowered. The playground of life is growing and a safe adult won’t always be there. He must learn skills to keep himself safe. We tell him daily that we have his back. Thank you guys for your feedback. Charla, Toby is a beautiful person. And, he is blessed to be in such a great family. I am so thankful to have this platform to discuss this issue candidly.

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  5. WTF indeed! Kids are so mean! He needs to go to the same school as Bridget because I know for a fact that she wouldn’t tolerate any of that. She tells me over and over how he’s her favorite friend.

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    • He’s been very good at surrounding himself by bright kids (like Bridget). He’s also getting better at articulating his feelings and standing up for himself. It seems that the more he stands up for himself, the bigger voice he also gives to his friends to stand up for themselves. As expected, these pesky voices are a minority. Part of me speaking out (now) is to strengthen our collective voice for our family as well as other kids who are going through similar experiences. Thanks to good friends and fellow bloggers/readers for your support!

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  6. Dear Sandi, You are an awesome Mom and have an awesome son! I am so sorry for what he is suffering from his classmates. This should never happen! Children imitate what they hear and see– unfortunately, his classmates do not have very good guidance or role models. I think you are doing all that you can for your son. I wish that bullying was addressed to Parents and Children alike in mandated attendance forum. Unfortunately, in WI, I have experienced, seen and witnessed behavior from certain Administration personnel that is similar to what your son’s classmates have exhibited. Tolerance for diversity has still a long way to go. Just keep strong, advocating for your son, and encouraging the school to put into practice their zero-tolerance. Unfortunately, people do not understand the message of Jesus–to love ALL. The false understanding of sexuality, the history of intolerance for homosexuals, the social biases against homosexuals, the misunderstanding of Scripture, Christians judging others—all of this is much to plow through–to change the way society thinks about gay people. Guess my response is getting carried away….I am sorry for your son! Keep strong!

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    • Jane, thank you for the kind words. This was originally posted in February and a lot of healing and acceptance has happened since that time. It’s been wonderful to feel the embrace from others and also to feel that we have something of value to lend to the conversation. Thank you for your support!

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  7. Reblogged this on johannisthinking and commented:
    There are a number of issues in this story: (1)no one should be ridiculed; (2)no one should be called names of any sort; (3)Personally, I do not have an issue with anyone’s homosexuality–nevertheless, in this story, being labelled “gay” is said in an offensive way to this young boy–this should never happen! (4)WHO teaches children to “name-call”…to call someone “gay?” in a derogatory way? This is a sad reflection of the adult models in the lives of these children.

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  8. this kind of thing makes me so angry

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    • Paul, thanks for being part of the conversation. While the story can stir up anger, it has also provided a great opportunity to openly discuss the issue. Open dialogue helps those on both “sides” of the debate understand that we are all human…with feelings… and that labels do not help. I appreciate you visiting and being part of the conversation.

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  9. What a sad world we live in! Why don’t parents TEACH their children what respect is! This post really makes my blood boil!!

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