(Less than) Perfect

image courtesy of photobucket.com

A new school year begins here on Monday. Wednesday night was “Meet the Teacher” night at my daughter’s elementary school. Thursday night we went to the junior high to pick up my son’s schedule, buy school supplies (thank you, PTA) and find his locker.

There is such a marked difference between elementary school kids and those in junior high. Puberty tends to bring out the worst in kids sometimes. I know that was the case with me.

As I walked the hallways with my son, trying to walk a few feet back from him so he didn’t have his mother hovering over him, I witnessed a very big kid walk past him and yell, “MOVE!” My son just walked past him. I should have kept my mouth shut, but sometimes (oftentimes) my mouth is way ahead of my brain. As the big kid walked past me, I looked him in the eye and said, “You are RUDE!” As the kid made a hasty escape down the hallway with me burning a laser glare into the back of his head, I asked my son what his name was. “Mom, I’m not going to tell you. Don’t worry about it”, my son said. As difficult as this was for me, I let it go. Boys need to fight their own battles sometimes. Of course, this didn’t preclude me from staring him down when I ran into him in the cafeteria later, but that’s all I did. He avoided making eye contact with me like a cat avoids a bath, so I think he figured out I wasn’t his biggest fan.

I hate that kids are horrible to one another. I hate that adults are horrible to one another. But as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, people really do suck for the most part, myself included. That’s why we all need an abundance of grace–for ourselves and for each other.

My blogging friend Michelle has a very talented son named Hunter. He is an aspiring filmmaker who helped put together the following video. As the school year begins, I pray for peace and understanding for our kids and for their teachers. And most of all, I pray we extend a little more grace to each other–undeserving as we most assuredly are.

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19 Responses to “(Less than) Perfect”

  1. Louise August 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    Okay — so that song made me want to stand up and cheer and clap and holler — You Rock!

    Fabulous kat — thank you so much for sharing this! Very talented.

  2. BJ August 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Thank you for this. It’s caused me to remember/pull up memories of my time being bullied in junior high and high school many years ago. I’d put those memories aside out of self preservation, but reading this and seeing that video made me realize I needed to acknowledge these memories. And, by doing so, tonight I’ve let them go. My tears fell, once again, for those awful experiences. And I was able to release that hurt. And I am whole again. Thank you.

    B

    • katdish August 19, 2011 at 8:11 am #

      I’m sorry you were bullied, and I’m glad this post provided some comfort for you.

  3. Candy August 19, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Wonderful video – found my heart breaking more than once, like when she wiped the tear from the boy’s face. Ugh. I hate that we treat each other like that. Being kind never hurt anyone. And it’s so hard as a mom not to help our kids fight their battles, because if there’s anything worse than being publicly demeaned, it’s having it happen to your kid. Makes my claws come out.

  4. Amy Nabors August 19, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    We have dealt with our son being bullied since first grade. Last year in fifth grade it worsened. This year the school is doing a serious push with anti-bullying curriculum and such. Hoping it helps.

  5. jake August 19, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    I was a horrible human in junior high. High school changed a little and I just didn’t care enough to be rude… regardless. We really can be so horrible to each other, it’s unfortunate. I love that you told the kid he was rude and glared at him. It made me laugh pretty hard this morning.

  6. James Williams August 19, 2011 at 8:49 am #

    Ugh. I have bad memories of meanness, too. Thing is, I had heard the word “bully”, from watching a bully in, say, an episode of Leave it to Beaver or maybe Andy Griffith. A bully was presented as someone who was 100% scumbag, no redeeming qualities, and always a scowl on his face.

    Because I never encountered anyone who resembled a TV-sitcom bully, it never occurred to me that I was being bullied. Because the ones who were mean to me were popular kids, well-like by teachers and coaches, often smiling, and certainly didn’t have the permanent scowl. In hindsight, I see that bullying was everywhere, but especially on the practice field and locker room for us athletes.

    Now that I have kids in school, I’m seeing the whole thing differently now, and agree with you that it’s very hard to not get between the mean kid and your own kid. You have to allow them a certain amount of rope to try to work it out. But danged if I don’t want to tell that mean kid “I’m gonna kick your ass!”. It’s very hard not to say that to his face. But that may not go over well. Especially at a Christian school. πŸ˜‰

    Ultimately, my responsibility now is threefold (1) keep listening to my kids so I’ll know what’s going on in their hearts and going on at school, (2) educate them on what’s acceptable, and (3) pray.

    Good post, Kat!

    • katdish August 19, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      I think it’s a big misconception that kids bully because they’ve been bullied themselves. You’re right. They’re often the popular kids, often from “good families” involved in church, etc. I know I’ve witnessed that, which makes it harder to accept because you know they should know better. But like I said, people suck.

  7. Jason Stasyszen August 19, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    As a parent, I think it’s great too that you called the kid out on his behavior (had to feel good too). Besides all the social changes, those hormonal changes do a number on some kids in particular. It’s not all just that of course, but it doesn’t help.

  8. Hart August 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

    No one has the right to bully or be bullied. Because people who bully think that they are superior then anybody else. Which is not the case. Even at an early stage of a person’s life, bullying should be prevented at all cost by parents, teachers and even to the victims.

    • katdish August 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      Agreed. But that’s much easier said than done.

  9. Heather Sunseri August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    I can’t watch the video at this very second, I’ll have to come back, but your post brings up an interesting question for me. This question has come up recently.

    I agree that we all deserve grace and we all need to extend grace. Absolutely! But don’t you think you were a little right in holding that younger person accountable for his actions at the same time?

    Another example: Let’s say that same age child is acting up/talking out of turn/interrupting his peers during youth group at church and you are one of the leaders. Do you think the adult leaders have the authority/responsibility, even, to hold the young people accountable?

  10. *~Michelle~* August 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

    Oh Kat…..thank you so much for sharing Hunter’s video…..it is such an important message for people of ALL ages to hear.

    Even as a young child, I remember cringing at the thought of someone being teased/taunted. πŸ™

  11. floyd August 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I have to say, from where I grew up, as bad as bullying is these days, it doesn’t hold a candle to how bad it used to be. Older kids picked on smaller and younger ones and went it spread down hill like the food chain. Being teased and bullied makes a person mean.

    In this imperfect world, I don’t think we’ll ever overcome the flesh and it’s tendencies. To really address the issue some education needs to be taught about the origin of bullying. In short it is fear and insecurity. If the kids were all taught that a bully is really the weakest of people, regardless of age or size, I think we would begin to see some changes.

    It showed a lot of courage and maturity on your son’s behalf to want to settle it in his own way and in his own time. Your son has something special.

    One last point. Not a truer word was spoken today, or read, that was more true than your’s today… We do suck…

  12. karenzach August 20, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    WOW! Wonderful video!!!

  13. Hanni August 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    I liked the video a lot. My heart mixed up with emotions when I watch this because I experienced being bullied too. πŸ™

  14. Helen August 22, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    You were right to tell the kid he was rude. I also see your son’s point about having to handle this on his own. (For now, at least…) You are a great mom.

  15. Melissa May 30, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    Less Than Perfect is an American sitcom that aired on I don’t think we’ll ever overcome the flesh and it’s tendencies.
    too. πŸ™

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