Seeing the best in life's challenges

Proud, or Protective?

This is a really good example of why I choose to remain anonymous when I write.  To my friends, it’s no secret who I am.  But I choose not to use my name, because I want to be able to write about people I know, without being TOO obvious who I am writing about.  It’s a fine line.  But I want the focus to be on the situation, and how we think about it.  I am not looking for notoriety for me, or for anyone else.

So let’s just say, theoretically, that I heard about a situation at a local festival.  Some have said this festival just doesn’t feel like it used to.  Stuff happens.  Parents don’t know whether they should let their kids go or not.  There’s lots of supervision by police, but still…

So, I know this kid who was there on a Saturday night, with a few friends.  The story goes, that he saw a younger kid who goes to his school.  This younger kid was being dragged along by a group of over 10 kids to a nearby park just outside the festival.  The group moving him along was asking him about his stuff – and he is a kid who probably had some good stuff on him.

Now stop, parents, and think about this scenario.  What if your kid was the one in trouble?  What if your kid was the one seeing this happen?  Do we talk to our kids about what to do in these kinds of situations?

Over the weekend, I was talking to the mom of twin girls who are 11.  She was telling me how she always tells them, “look, there are 2 of you, you should always stick up for the kid getting picked on.“  She said they talk about how other girls might not like that, but it’s the right thing to do.  Lesson:  There is power in numbers.

So back to my story.  The kid doing the observing is 2-3 years older (and bigger) than the group he is observing.  So, he goes up to the group and says, “Hey, what’s going on here?”  The kid in trouble runs away, and the smaller group, well, gangs up on the older kid, who covers his face, puts his elbows out, but doesn’t punch back.  Then a friend of the group comes up from behind and sucker-punches him in the nose.

The kid who has just been punched finds the cops, tells them the story, and they tell the offenders to leave the festival.  Several days later, the damage:  two slightly black eyes, but no broken nose.

So, parents, what’s your first reaction?  Are you proud or protective?

The proud parent’s take on this:  We live in the real world.  Stuff happens.  When you see someone in trouble, you help them.  You don’t need to escalate the situation.  And tell whoever’s in charge if there’s a problem.

The protective parent’s take on this:  Stay out of it.  Keep your nose clean.  Avoid situations where there might be trouble.  If there’s any question, don’t even go there. You are never going to that festival again!

As parents, we don’t want our kid involved in trouble.  We don’t want them hurt.  What if those kids had a knife, or a gun?  These are not easy situations, and I bet we all see both sides.

FYI, after the incident, the kid that was in trouble said that as he was being dragged along, he said a prayer, and then, out of nowhere, the bigger kid appeared.  He has been texting the bigger kid thank you’s ever since.

Now, I’ll admit it.  I’m a proud mom.  And I’m trusting God to take care of the protection issue.