Posted: Jun 27, 2013 7:00 AM
 
As much as we try to protect our children, sometimes they have to learn the hard lessons themselves, and in the process, mature and grow. For Kim Ozment-Gold, moving from one school district to another took its toll on her son. Find out how her son surprises her in her story “Running Home” from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood. Learn how he handles a tough situation and school bully.

Written by Kim Ozment-Gold, published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood

I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.
~ Frances Willard

Shortly after my son turned ten, we moved to a new school district. Weeks passed and it seemed as though everyone in the family had made the transition well. After school, my son’s only goal was to play outside with the neighbor kids. They all seemed to get along and have fun together. I found some comfort in knowing that he felt that he belonged. His new friends helped him blossom in a way that I had never noticed before. I told him one day that I thought his calling was to be a comedian. His eyes brightened and he beamed.

I noticed as he passed that his brow was sweaty and his face looked a little flushed. With the cool weather outside, it seemed strange that he would build up a sweat walking from the bus stop to the house.

A few months after our move, my son walked in the door after school looking upset. I asked what was going on and he replied, “Nothing.” I noticed as he passed that his brow was sweaty and his face looked a little flushed. With the cool weather outside, it seemed strange that he would build up a sweat walking from the bus stop to the house.

I followed him into his room and asked him again if everything was all right. He seemed a little aggravated and said that he was fine, just tired. For a moment he seemed so mature for a ten-year-old. Still something seemed odd, but I decided to let it go.

The next afternoon I noticed the neighbor kids got home fifteen minutes before my son. I was beginning to get worried when he came in the door. He avoided my eyes as he passed and again I could see the sweat on his brow. I followed him into his room and tried to help him lift his backpack from his shoulder. He quickly pulled away. “What’s going on?” I asked. I didn’t know if he was fighting tears or trying to think up a story to tell me but he paused a few moments before answering.

Suddenly he stood up as tall as he could, looked me straight in the eye and said, “It’s nothing, Mom. I can handle it.” His maturity caught me by surprise, although my mother’s intuition made me hesitate. I decided to back off and let him handle it for the time being.

The following afternoon I confronted the neighbor kids. Corralling the girl who professed to be his best friend, I asked if she knew where he was. She looked at her feet and managed to mumble something to the effect that I better ask him. I ran to the house to get my car keys and look for him. As I raced back to the car, keys in hand, I nearly stumbled over the neighbor girl. She was ready to confess and told me that my son had been getting off at the first bus stop eight blocks away. He would run home. She added that he wasn’t doing anything wrong.

Sad boy with backpack

Then I saw my son walking slowly towards me. His head hung low and his shoulders where hunched. As he approached I could see tears on his cheeks. As soon as he saw me, he reached up quickly and wiped his eyes. I tried to act as though nothing were wrong. “Hey, did you decide to walk home?” I asked. He brushed past me and headed towards the house.

“What’s going on?” I asked, when we were inside. He turned to me and dropped his backpack to the floor in a gesture of defiance.

“I didn’t want to move here,” he said quietly.

“Is there a problem at school?” I asked. “Is there something I need to know about?”

He let out a sigh of frustration, looked me straight in the eye and blurted out, “There’s nothing you can do about this, Mom!”

“I could try,” I offered.

“What could you do?” he cried. “This kid wants to beat me up and waits for me at the bus stop. If you call the school or anyone else he will just get even madder.”

“Someone has to do something about a bully like that,” I said. “I could talk to his parents.”

“Mom, his parents don’t care what he does. They cheer him on when he hits someone.”

I was exasperated. I was devastated. I had taught my son never to hit anyone, to always try to talk things out, to resolve things peacefully. I felt completely useless as a parent. I sat down beside him. With a sigh of surrender, I said, “We can call the police.”

Suddenly he sat up, turned to me and said, “Mom, I can take care of this. I’m not going to fight him. I can get off at the first bus stop and walk from there. It’s no problem.”

I was so angry at this bully and even more so at his parents. I wondered what kind of people would incite their son to bully other kids.

I was so angry at this bully and even more so at his parents. I wondered what kind of people would incite their son to bully other kids. I wanted to go to them and threaten them and give them a little of their own medicine. I just wanted to inflict the same fear and pain on them that their bullying son had inflicted on mine. But when I looked at my son, he actually looked sort of relaxed. His mouth turned up in his old familiar grin and he said, “Mom, it’s going to be okay.”

A few days later, my son was back to riding the bus home to the stop near our house. The bully had realized that my son was a comedian and had the ability to make even a bully laugh. Or maybe the kid realized that he needed fewer enemies; whatever the case, my son had reconciled their differences and resolved the problem peacefully.

It is amazing to me, as a parent, that my son was able to find a solution to such a big problem. He brings peace to situations where I would only create more chaos. Being a parent doesn’t give us all the answers. Sometime the answers come in a simple form that only a kid can understand.

 *****

We can learn from our children more than we might think, and just sometimes, their solutions to problems are better than anything we could come up with! For even more inspiring stories for you or the parent in your life, pick up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood. Or you can check out some of our other parenting titles on www.chickensoup.com.

Reprinted by permission of Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC © 2013. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.

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