Armoured Up

Speak Up…I wish they would!!!

Yesterday in the news we saw a 68 year old bus monitor being bullied by a group of 13 olds.  It absolutely pained me to hear the verbal assault and watch as she turned her face away, wiped her tears and even tried to cover her mid section with her purse.  I was appalled that these kids obviously thought it was okay to verbally abuse anyone, much less an adult, much less this woman who quite obviously could have been their grandmother; it sickened me that they could care less about her feelings, even getting up close to menace her.  Most of all it irritated me and then saddened me that not one person on that bus spoke up on her behalf.  Made me say to myself as I watched it…I wish they would…

I wish they would treat me that way and try to get away with it!

I wish they would have treated anyone around me that way and tried to get away with it!

I WISH THEY WOULD try that mess on one of my kids and try to get away with it!

You know this deal got me to go down memory lane to two years ago when my son passed on winter camp after being so excited about going.  When I pressed him about it, he said he didn’t want “Clyde” (not his real name) to ruin his time.  My son had joined the list of Clyde’s targets and this bit of information was not news to me.  It was too late for my son to go on the trip; however, I did reach out to one of his teachers who acknowledged that Clyde was a problem; he had no idea my son was being provoked; was sorry my son was not going on the trip; and he would talk to Clyde.  Never heard back on the issue although my bully antenna were up.  Clyde issues kept coming up and I had my eye on my son and he appeared unaffected.  You know the tough part is that my son is as strong as an ox and I do believe if pressed, he could have put a hurting on Clyde, but I’ve never been one to encourage my son to settle his grievances with his fists.  Instead, I have told him not to allow anyone to disrespect him by laying hands on him.  So far, so good!!  Anyway, this past year, I received a text from my daughter saying that Clyde had thrown a basketball at my son (excuse me, it was a pass….a hard pass) and my son was doubled over holding his hand.  Uh, I saw red and then envisioned another trip to the emergency room (my son had broken the thumb on that hand the year before).  As I was reading the text I was putting my shoes on and  grabbing my car keys.  My very in-tune-to-me husband, held me back saying he wanted to join me. Oh, how he knows that mama bear in me!!

I arrived at the playground and stepped out of the car and stood close to the fence “watching the kids practice.”  Right!!!   I was really watching only one kid, and it wasn’t mine.  As soon as I had Clyde’s attention I leaned in and quietly but firmly reintroduced myself (it wasn’t my first talk with him) and told him in my Clint Eastwood “go ahead make my day” voice, that if he singled out my kid one more time, I was comin’ hard to deal with the situation.  That’s all I said and as he looked into my eyes, as his lip quivered, I realized that dear Clyde had heard me loud and clear.  Funny how I met Clyde’s mom a few weeks later and she was the nicest woman.  We talked about our husbands, our churches, what we do for family time, etc.  After a nice chat we even exchanged phone numbers and I had to wonder how in the world such a nice family could breed a bully.  I thought they came from troubled homes. Hmm…

I said earlier I was saddened that no one had spoken up on behalf of the bus monitor.  I suspect folks would be embarrassed to speak up, huh? Perhaps one would feel intimidated to confront a bully for fear of reprisal, or maybe we’re unphased by ugly; maybe we don’t think one voice can make a difference, right?   Umm…Not me!  You know I have a story right? 🙂  And so I found myself at Toys R Us around Christmastime during the lunch hour thinking I’d beat the crowd only to find myself in a long line behind a super impatient, very vocal woman.  The kid at the register was having a difficult time on his first day at work and this woman was absolutely going off on him and looking around for some support.  I had to say something when I saw this boy’s hands shaking.  “Me:  You know that’s someone’s child, right?”  She looked at me and explained (in a not so nice way) that she was in a rush and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.  I “encouraged” her to settle down so that he would settle down.   She snatched the gift card out of his hand and grabbed her purchases and went to customer service.  The young man, all red faced, quietly said “thank you, ma’am” to me, rang me up and I proceeded over to customer service to check in with the young man’s supervisor.  I wanted to speak up for that young man. His supervisor was appreciative.  I spoke up…twice!

How about the time the cashier at Sears tossed my mom’s change at her not realizing that I was with her and I spoke up!!  🙂

We need to teach our kids to speak up for those who are being abused.  We need to speak up so that those abusers will know they are being watched and not tolerated!

Here’s a promise from me…if you or your child or loved one ever finds themselves at the receiving end of an abuser in my presence, I will speak up.  Please do the same for me…I wish you would!!!

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