Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Verbally Squashing a Beef

My 4th grader has complained about his classmates calling each other gay. He knows that people are free to be and do what they want so someone being gay is no big deal, and he knows that kids are not suppose to be calling each other gay.
It was not that he was singled out to be picked on but his classmates and friends are now at an age where they are indiscriminately throwing that word around. His initial reaction was to say yes I am happy, but then kids would say, no the other kind of gay!
So then he stated saying, "There is nothing wrong with being gay," or  "Yeah I am gay so what." Which I commended him on but explained that saying he was gay may lead to kids picking on him. Unlike myself my son is not armed with the ability to have a quick and caustic verbal response so I decided to give him a little ammunition. He said, "I can't say that I will get sent to the principle's office."

A day or so later he comes home and says, "Guess what, you know that 3rd grade kid that got left back that is always annoying me on the bus? Well he called me gay and I said to him, 'oh like when you and your dad have sex?' He looked at me upset and confused and walked away. I am really scared that I am going to get in trouble."
I said, "I doubt he is going to tell anyone because he would have to tell them that he was calling you gay, if he does and you get in trouble I will come to school and deal with it."

The next day my son said, "The kid's 5th grade sister asked me why I said that to him, and I told her and she said that was still mean." A couple of weeks later I asked if that kid has bothered him anymore, "No he hasn't."
Mission accomplished.
Kids in the neighborhood I grew up in were extremely harsh with making fun of each other (we called it running or cracking on each other) usually it was in good fun but you had to be able to verbally defend yourself or you would become a target for constant abuse. If you could be particularly mean and cutting you could make it known that you would put up with any non-jovial abuse, and I am glad that my son is learning to verbally defend himself, he is shy and not extremely confident outside of soccer so I do not want anyone to think that he is their whipping boy, he does not need that kind of stress in his life.

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