|With glasses and a punch|
© 2016 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. I was born a small boy. Yes, small. And yes a boy. Both were a problem in public school. The first because it attracted larger boys who exercised boy behavior at my expense and the second because I accepted that is how boys are supposed to act. And so I had to adapt to being smaller than other boys.
Sometimes I even admired how larger boys pushed me around since I thought at some point I would grow to be as big as my father. I didn't get a growth spurt until ninth grade. Previously I was one of the smallest in each class.
But I have always been a boy and therefore I had plenty of boy behavior hardwired into my very being. If I was punched my automatic response was to hit back. No, I didn't go tattle to adults; I tried to land a blow on the tip of the offender's nose where it would start a nose-bleed.
Public schools tried to extinguish all boy behavior when I was in public school since it was loud, chaotic and irritating to adults. We boys were treated as if we were dysfunctional girls. We were treated as if we had not thought of what would be acceptable behavior.
"What were you thinking?" was a frequent question. Truth: wasn't thinking, just reacting as a boy.
Public schools then and now try to make all children act like girls. Pay attention, don't take cuts in line and don't ever punch another boy. The expected behavior of schools is modeled after girls who act like girls.
In the 1980s when my daughter was in third grade she was pushed around by a boy. I taught her something my Uncle Ralph taught me when I was young. It is a punch called the Hook. I didn't talk to the school about the boy behavior that is always at public schools, I gave her a way to deal with it. We practiced it.
Young kids throw straight lefts and rights which are easily blocked. The hook comes out of left field and knocks the offender down. Her mother and the school weren't pleased with her knocking the boy down but he never pushed her again. Nor did any boy at that school. After her lecture was over, she came and high fived me.
That is what Uncle Ralph's lesson did for me. I was much smaller but packed a punch. My father was in the Air Force and we moved eight times in my public school time. Each new school had a bully or a couple bullies that picked on new smaller kids. But not me more than once.
My mother and the schools were exasperated with me hitting back. But I was usually left alone afterwards. And I learned to rely upon my own self instead of thinking I had to be protected by adults. They were never there when the flan hit the fan.
It is in the public dialog that bullying in public schools is rampant and out of control. There are many new procedures. The newest ones command the kids to not fight back when attacked. Rather, to take their assault and make a report to an adult. The schools are ramping up anti-bullying administrators, hiring more and more adults to take over the fight rather than teach children to be their own advocate. That is pure crap!
No I'm not saying the way to end all bullying is protective headgear and eight ounce gloves. But one thing is for sure. Throughout our children's lives they will be pushed around. Thinking that the only way to deal with abuse is to get a government higher authority to attend to it is lunacy.
Yes, the government must deal with cases of physical abuse beyond a certain level. And often a restraining order only works when the person also has a pistol and is willing to use it. We need to teach our children to take responsibility for themselves as much as possible.
Often it is just boy behavior anyway and should not trigger having a SWAT team parachute into the school. Let boys be boys and teach everyone how to cope.