So here’s the 64,000 dollar question: Can you take the fight out of a boy? And if you can, do you really want to? Or would you rather guide it?
When Andy was in kindergarten he got in a fight on the playground. He was shoved, he threw a punch and he landed in the principal’s office. At the time I was horrified. We had long talks about not hitting, using words and walking away.
“But mom! Is it ever okay to hit? What about fighting bad guys?”
I thought about this for a while, then said, “If you see someone hitting your little sister…not just teasing her, but really hurting her…you have my permission to beat the crap out of them.”
He lit up.
He gave me a curt solute and ran off to play. That was the beginning of my raising vigilantes.
Andy hasn’t gotten in a fight since, but his sense of fight has purpose now. A few mornings ago, Kate told us a boy in her kindergarten class was teasing her. Andy looked her straight in the eye and said soberly, “You just tell him you have a brother who’s in second grade who’ll be watching him.” Then he pointed to his eyes and pointed to an invisible bully. Kate smiled and got her backpack ready.
The protective fire has ignited in Luke too. He and Dean go to a childcare during my aerobics class three times a week. Apparently there is a little boy there who pushes Dean.
“What did you do when he pushed Dean?” I asked my miniature super hero.
“I looked at him like this…” Then he proceeded to give me a stare that could cut through glass. Though I’m guessing his “blue steel” went unnoticed by the perpetrator, Luke was confident his look could kill.
“You can speak up too, Luke. Tell him that it’s not cool to push little babies.”
So this morning at breakfast when we were going over the day’s schedule, Luke told Paul,
“If that kid pushes Dean again, I’m gonna do this…” Then he grips Paul by the lapels, presses his nose to his father’s, and says in a cold voice, “hey man, that’s not cool! Don’t push my brother!”
I think that kid’s baby pushing days are numbered.