18 April 2010

On friends and bullies

One of the things I have to reckon with as a mom of a pre-schooler is the reality of bullies. This came to our son on the first day of his summer school when an angry friend pushed him on the sandbox, leaving his face burrowed on the sand. He probably valued that friend a lot, for what else can explain the trauma he had from that experience? It was so grave that there was no talking him into going back the next day. Months have passed and yet the mere mention of the summer school’s name would make him tense all over. The most painful thing for me was how he kept the memory of that experience all to himself. He only got the courage to talk about it last January, about 6 months since that dreadful day.

He narrated the story in clear detail, from how painful the sand was to his eyes to how long the bus ride home took before he could run to hug me. He cried a bit after his story. Lakay and I can only console him from our end.

I knew that one day this would come. At one point, I seriously considered home-schooling him just so I could shield him from all these. But then something happened last week that made me less worried and more hopeful.

My little one has this new friend, E, from Ecuador. They go to the same class together, live in the same building, and have been inseparable for quite some time now. Last week, Lakay brought them to this big kiddie land called Sportoase. While on the bus, my little one suddenly remembered his sad summer school story and related it to his friend. According to Lakay, E's eyes were really filled with sympathy. He even rubbed my little one’s back, the way adults would when they console each other. Then E said, (in Flemish), next time say “Niet doen! Niet doen! (Don’t do it!) or E's mama will get angry!”

I couldn’t help but smile when I heart this. I’m touched by the way four-year-olds could feel for the other, the way they can distinguish good friends from bad, and the unpretentious way they show how they care.

This moving story made me a see a bigger reality than that of bullies. I came home to the truth that school is, yes, a place where kids can get hurt, but it is also a place where good friendships are planted and nurtured. That whole reality should not be taken away from them.


Lou said...

Bullies are one of the worst scourges of childhood! I'm sorry your little one had to go through it but hope it toughens him up for future trials. And yes good friends are a blessing.

Socraticmom said...

thanks ate. Yup, I hope it does make him tougher. Lakay says he is tough! He can use his power: his mega-decibled voice! haha

Socraticmom said...

mega-decibel-ed (so much for bastardizing words!)