Being a mom means you got to teach your kids plenty – language, respect, manners, how to tie their shoelaces, how to play well, how to fix up that Lego toy…
And often this seems rather one-sided. Or so you would think. But any parent can probably tell you, our children can often surprise us and school US in return. This series is on some lessons I’ve learnt from my kids, in the past five and a half years since I’ve been promoted to be a MUM.
I’ve been meaning to blog on this for a while, but have never found the time to really sit and pen it down. I’ve blogged about Jay attending kindergarten over here in Sydney, and how kindy is pretty much the start of “formal” education in Australia (similar to seven-year-olds attending Primary One back in Singapore). And he is a gregarious character, and after the first two weeks, he is happy to go school every morning, and happy when he comes back in the afternoons.
However, a couple of weeks back, we hit a road bump in his kindy life. During the first few weeks, being the new boy, it was pretty inevitable that he got picked on, and one particular boy was pretty mean to him – pushing and shoving him to the ground. Of course, we were MAD, and also highlighted to the teacher. I personally witnessed this particular boy “in action”, during the school’s open day where parents were invited to sit in the class, and during the recess time, he took another boy’s lunch packet, and while that boy went to find the teacher to tell on him, he peeked into the bag, must have found nothing that interested him, and nonchalantly threw the packet back on the bench. Jay and I were sitting a little off, and Jay was happily sharing some dinosaur nuggets with Xavier. Jay noticed that boy drinking a packet of juice, and asked him, “What juice is that?” The boy stared unsmilingly at Jay, sucked up the remainder of the juice, and tipped the box over, and gave a shrug pointedly at Jay, and walked away. I wanted to walk up to shake that boy by his shoulders. But I didn’t. Cos two wrongs don’t make a right. And definitely not in front of all those children!
So it was evident to me that this boy was pretty much a trouble maker. I told Jay to stay away from him.
And he didn’t.
I guess the two of them are very similar – though from different cultures, they also weren’t the “typical” Aussie student. Both were bright and loved to lead. And in this case, two of them together definitely sparked off some WRONG sparks.
My Jay thought it hilarious that the boy was doing certain things. Like digging up a particular spot in the lawn. During any available time during their break. And when Jay puts his mind to something, he doesn’t do a halfhearted job. He went at digging that hole like crazy. He found it super amusing and loved that hole. He could stand in and that hole came up to about his knees.
Till a parent fell in that hole.
And Jay also became pretty brash in his treatment to his other classmates – taking to shoving them to get their attention, and poking when they don’t respond straight away. Yeap – he became the second “bully” in the class.
And the teacher started to talk to us about it. By “us”, I really mean the hubs – cos she would speak to him almost every day after school. And we came down very hard on Jay back home.
Out went his iPad and TV privileges. Out went the occasional MacDonald’s treat. Out went some playground trips. With him, withdrawal of privileges have the quickest “effect”. Sure, we used the cane but when we took away something he treasured, he quickly learnt his lesson. We also had to remind him how to behave, how not to behave, and how to see things from his classmates’ point of view.
And after two weeks, he really learnt his lesson well, and stopped any “bullying” behaviour.
But how about the other boy? Well, he continued getting into mischief, and it was really, really bad. We told Jay to stay away, especially because Jay, though friends with the boy, also got the blunt end of his mischief!
I would have stayed away from such a “friend”.
So would my husband.
Why subject yourself to such treatment? No one else in the class really wanted to be friends with that boy.
But the lesson Jay taught me was this: Acceptance. He drew this picture and when he showed me (yes, I blanked out cos that boy’s name was on it), God convicted me. For not giving the other little boy a chance. For trying to shelter Jay, but yet missed out on this important life lesson as well.
And I am so proud of my little boy, for being able to forgive and forget so easily (the times he was bullied), and remembering the good. Bless his little heart!
And so in my boy’s honour, I’ve decided to host a linky entitled “Lessons learned from kids” – it can be yours, or another person’s kids, but something they showed you, told you or taught you! Grab the button below, and come and link up whenever you have a post!