Friday, 8 February 2013

Fight the good fight?

It's the moment that every parent of school aged children dreads. The wagging finger and the call of "Can I have a quick word?"

Today the inevitable happened. All parents were lined up and ready to collect their offspring, and I am beckoned. Everyone looked around and about them in the hope that it won't be their turn. After the call today, a resigned father behind me stepped out and crossed the threshold. A collective sigh of relief went up from the parents in the line.

"No, sorry, it's not you!" Shouted the teacher. "It's Jonah's mum I need."

Laughter erupted from the waiting parents as the relieved dad returned to his place in the line, and I made the walk of shame to the teacher's door.

It seems my boy has been fighting. No surprises there then. He has been trained by his loving older brothers to protect and defend himself. Sometimes, he defends himself rather too energetically for comfort.

Apologising to the teacher, I talk to my little rotweiler disguised as an angelic blue eyed boy. The angel/rotweiler will not admit any responsbility. According to his version of the events, he did nothing while another boy strangled him and pushed him over. We all know him far too well to know that he would not stand there doing nothing during an attack. And anyway, unfortunately for him there were witnesses.

After a little chat, he apologises to his teacher for fighting and we move on from the whole sorry episode.

I don't like fighting. I don't like violence or aggression. We have always taught our boys not to enter into a fight, and if someone else tried to fight them then they need to 'say no and walk away'. It's been our non-fighting mantra for the last 11 years. (Well, maybe 9 years. Babies don't generally pick fights). But now I have an 11 year old boy entering a different world. A world where teachers might not see or intervene and I find that I am beginning to take a slightly different viewpoint. Maybe if someone is pushing you and strangling you, and there are no adults to help, it might not be possible to 'say no and walk away'. Maybe there are occasions when fighting back is acceptable. I'm still learning on this one. It's all new to me. The learning curve of parenthood has taken a sharp bend, yet again.

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