Kenny Rogers sung a famous line from a song called The coward of the Country, and that is sometimes you have to fight to be a man. Deep down I am a pacifist. I don’t like fighting, though over the years I have been involved in the odd scrap.
I have brought up my sons to walk away from fighting, because violence doesn’t often solve issues. This has been my standard response to my sons over the last 6 months as they have often faced teasing and the urging on to fight from a group of local boys…aged from 5 – 16.
Generally speaking they get on well. But there is always an incident or two that ends up in tears coming from the variety of insults. Normally towards my youngest boy. I won’t say what they are: but I have stopped the boys and asked them not to do so. I have also had to encourage my oldest not to join in and tease his brother; rather that he has a role to play in being his brothers keeper.
Today an incident happened. Again my youngest was the recipient of teasing. My oldest fired up and told them to leave them alone. The group surrounded them and encouraged the teaser to start fighting my youngest. Again he was told to stop, with the warning that if he didn’t he would pick him up and throw him to the ground. My son is 12, the young boy in question is 8. He ignored the warning with taunts that he was a chicken and continued to throw punches. So my son picked him up and threw him.
While he tried to throw him onto the grass, unfortunately he hit his face on the gutter. The boys came home and told me the story. Possibly 5 minutes later; the boys father was on my doorstep wanting to know my insurance details to make a medical claim, as he needed stitches. I told him I was willing to give him my details, and I was sorry his son was hurt. However, in light of what happened, I was going to stand by my sons for defending themselves. I also warned if he wanted to sue, he would be counter sued regarding his sons behaviour. Not by me, but by the insurance assessors. Basically he wanted me to say that his son tripped over a log in our back yard and hurt himself.
I also asked him if his son was in such a bad way why was he on my door step and hadn’t taken him to hospital as those details are easily worked out afterwards.
I told him I wasn’t going to lie. He then demanded a $1000 for the medical bills and I told him to claim it on Medicare and or to ring the police. He told us he was going to get his solicitor onto us. I replied: Cool, that will mean we have to get the police involved. He made a strange retort saying he was going to go before he lost his cool. And I quietly replied, that would be a good thing…we don’t want any more trouble now do we?
He and his mate left, breathing blue murder that his wife would be on the door step later and she was harder to handle then what he was. Hmmm is it any wonder their son has the issues he does. Once back inside I rang the police and made a report myself and told them all that had taken place.
I have mixed emotions about what happened. On many levels the pacifist raises up in me, wanting to reprimand my boys for fighting. However, something else rose up in me. And I told them:
Guys, I don’t like fighting and this is why. People can get really hurt. However, I also want to tell you that I am proud of you both. And I said to the oldest, I am really proud of you in that you stood up for your brother. You rose up to the challenge of being your brothers keeper. And though you may or may not get in some form of trouble for what happened, I want you to know that I am going to stand beside you all the way and we will handle this together. And in the future, walk away from trouble if you can.
In many ways my son entered into a societal rite of passage. It’s one that I wish as his father he never had to enter into. But dang it. I am so proud that he stood up for his younger brother. And that in its self is something to be proud of!