Tuesday, I get a call from my son on his Gizmo watch. I see the call come through, but I’m not in a place to answer it. He calls again two times in a row, and when I get to a quiet place, I call him back.
“Caleb, what’s up?”
“Mom, I want to transfer to another school.”
“Why Caleb, is something wrong?”
“I don’t want to be here anymore. People act mad at me even when I don’t do anything to them.”
“Ok well, I’m not transferring you to another school. The last time I did that it was for a special situation.”
“I don’t want to be here.”
“Caleb is someone bothering you? Are you getting bullied? You can tell me.”
“I just don’t want to be here.”
“We will talk about this more when you get home.”
I must admit my stomach was in knots. Hearing my son say he doesn’t want to be at his school anymore & it’s a place he has to go to 5 days out the week. I tried to run scenarios through my head as to why anyone would be mad at him? What could have happened to lead him not to want to go to school? Did someone physically put their hands on him? Is he going to become depressed behind this? Children as young as 8 years old have committed suicide due to bullying, and I can’t imagine my son desiring to take his own life. Yet, in this world adults, kids, people can be cruel not realizing how damaging their actions & words are to another person.
I said a prayer not for sure of what to expect. What I did know was that I would talk to my son when he got home. I hoped I could get down to the bottom of why he no longer wanted to attend his school.
I heard the bus breaks squeal as it pulled up and I did what I always did. Glanced out the kitchen window and walked to the door to unlock it for my son. He was covering his mouth with his hand, but he didn’t look sad. The first thing I asked him was why he was covering his mouth. He said because he talks too much. We walk in the kitchen & I serve him dinner. I then ask about his call.
“So, let’s talk about why you want to leave your school?”
“Oh, I don’t want to anymore. I was mad, so I said that because I was mad. I’m not mad anymore.”
Being relieved, I asked, “Well what happened to make you mad?”
He began to tell me how there is a boy in his class that is mean to him. He tells my son he is ugly and dumb. I reassure my son he is not ugly or dumb which he responds, “I know.” I ask him if he says any mean things back to the boy. He says he doesn’t. He says even when he tries to say nice things to the boy like complimenting the boys shoes by saying they’re cool the boy is still mean to him. I tell my son I’m proud of him for not acting like the boy and that it’s not ok to be mean to people. I ask him if he wants me to let his teacher know & he says no. I then ask him if he’d be ok with us praying for the boy? He looks at me and says, “Ok, you pray.” I then tell him I’ll pray, and then he can pray after me, and he agrees. After praying for the boy, I give him a hug, and he sits down to eat his dinner.
It’s Thursday, and my son has just finished eating, and we’re looking at photos I have on iCloud on my PC. Sadly, my internet is slow, so the videos are buffering. As we’re waiting for the latest video to load I ask my son about the boy who was being mean to him.
“Caleb, how is it going with _____?
“Um, he’s still being mean, but I ignore him.”
“Do you want me to tell your teacher about it?”
“No, my teacher already knows he’s a mean kid.”
“Is he mean to other kids? Does he have any friends?”
“Yes, he’s friends with ,___ ,____ ,___ ,____ .”
“Are they mean to you too?”
“Well, they’re in like a group. _____ is bossy not mean.”
“Are they mean to anyone else?”
“Yes, this kid named __. He’s kind of weird, but I like him. He kind of weird like me.”
I grab my son and give him a great big hug. “Yeah, you are weird. So am I and your dad.” (The kid really didn’t have a chance)
“You’re weird? How, what do you say?”
“I speak my mind, and people think it’s weird and I dance & sing down the street. Guess what those same girls that think you’re weird are going to like you. Those same boys who are mean to you are going to want to be your friend when you’re older. You know why? Because you are comfortable being who you are. A lot of people don’t know who they are, but you do. They will begin to respect you for that. You wait and see.”
He walks off, and I can do nothing but smile. I love his outlook on certain things. Here I was afraid that he would get depressed and maybe suicidal. Here he is saying he knows he’s weird and he’s fine being that way. Every night before he goes to bed I pray over him. I ask God to bring him, friends, that are encouraging and that he encourages. I pray God continues to watch over him. I thank God for his kind heart and his desire to make people smile. I thank God for the dreams he gives him filled with great creations and not nightmares. My son knows that to make friends you must show yourself friendly (Proverbs 18:24). I love seeing the young man he is growing up to be.
Unlike my son, it took a while for me to ignore people who were mean to me. I have memories of sitting in a work bathroom stall balling my eyes out when someone would say something mean to me. This went on until my late 20’s. As I’m #DyingDaily, I realize those words that people spoke into my life about me have no power over me. People who are bitter can’t help but be bitter towards others. So now I do as I did with the child who is being mean to my son. I pray for them, and I let God handle that battle for me (Exodus 14:14). I don’t need to retaliate, take revenge or prove myself to be something that I’m not or shine a light on who I am (Romans 12:17-18). God does all that for me. I’m grateful the Lord loves me, loves my son and takes care of him in and out of my presence.