Monday, June 27, 2011
On Bullying and Parenting
Saturday night, after a day filled with all-star baseball, Hubby received an e-mail that notified him that Eldest had been directly involved in an incident.
A baseball glove had been ruined. Carelessly tossed in the wet mud. (The glove's owner was not a player on any of the baseball teams. He was simply there as a spectator.)
The glove, as it lay drying, was subsequently stolen.
I knew all this had happened because I was working in the snack shack at the time. I saw the wet, ruined glove. I saw someone trying to figure out how to get the glove to dry.
I had no idea that my child was involved.
Apparently, Eldest and a teammate were playing catch in between their games. (I had gone home with Middle and Baby.)
Eldest's buddy told him to throw the glove in the mud.
So Eldest did.
(Two of their teammates saw this occur and took the glove out of the mud and handed it to a parent - the same parent who was trying to dry the glove.)
Anyway, long story short, my son made the wrong choice.
He did something wrong. He hurt another child. He destroyed something that he had no business even touching. He succumbed to peer pressure. (And holy deja-vu moment when you find yourself asking your child the very same question you were asked over and over again by your own parents: "Well, if your friend told you to jump off a bridge, would you do that???")
A little piece of my heart broke on Saturday night.
It broke to think of the glove's owner, whose glove was ruined. And then stolen. To think of how he felt.
It broke to think of the glove's owner's mother, whom I know.
It broke to think that my child would do something so rotten. To do something that he knows is rotten.
It broke to see him crying in bed. Sobbing himself to sleep. Realizing that he had been so so wrong.
And look, I know. Eldest is young. 9 year olds make mistakes. Silly mistakes. That these things will happen. That he will be put in many many many more situations similar and much worse than this.
Crack, crack goes my heart.
This is how we handled it:
Yesterday, Eldest got on the phone and apologized to both the boy and his mother.
Hubby made arrangements with the mother that he and Eldest (and Eldest's buddy who was the one who told Eldest to throw the glove in the mud and HIS father) are all picking up the boy and taking him to a sporting goods store, where the boy will pick out a new glove. And then Eldest and his friend will split the cost of the glove, earning money by doing chores allllllllllll summer long.
For all the times I've preached to you that "it gets easier" and "hang in there" - I never had the foresight to see this coming.
As they develop and are out of diapers and cribs and can buckle themselves in the car and can sleep straight through the night, yes, that part is easier.
And as they become more self-sufficient and are in school full-time and are not babies anymore, yes, that part is easier too.
But man, this learning lessons and teaching consequences and doing the right thing and realizing that you are shaping the choices your children make and the people they become....WOAH.
Parenting is hard, yo.