I happened to walk in on the incident when I was picking my 7 year old up from school last week: Another little boy tackled my son to the ground and then taunted him when my son started crying and asking him to stop. I transformed from harried mother on my cell phone at after school pick up into the raging force that is “Mama Bear.”
I grabbed the offender and pulled him off my son and demanded that he apologize. I told him that he could not treat his friends this way if he wanted to have friends any more. He stuck his tongue out at me and ran away.
There’s something about “Mama Bear” mode that infuses the voice with a special timbre of authority. It carries with it unspoken violence and brooks no disobedience.
“Johnathan Smith,” I called after him.* “Get back here this instant.” He heard the implied threat and turned around and came back and apologized to my son, so I let him off the hook (very giving of me, don’t you think?).
Bullying has become a pretty serious problem at the school my kids attend in the past year, and this is not the first time my son has been on the receiving end of it. The principal and teachers are on top of it – they have a whole program they’re implementing to try to weed it out.
Only, I’m not convinced this new program is going to work. Bullying has become so rampant and accepted in our society that a few lessons in the classroom can’t compete with what these kids see day in and day out – on television, at home, on the Internet, even at Church.