By: ewhite422

Jul 13 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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I received a call one afternoon from the principal of the junior high where my son was in 7th grade.  This was years ago, and he doesn’t read my blog, so I think I’m safe telling this story.

“I have to tell you that Josh got into a fight at school today, and I have suspended all the boys involved,” she announced, and then her voice lightened, “and I will tell you that you have such an articulate child!  I have to tell you what happened, because I can’t stop laughing.”

“Well,” my mind was racing, “I hope everyone is okay!  What happened?” I asked, relieved that she was laughing.

“Here’s what I’ve pieced together.  First of all, this is not something unusual.  Seventh grade boys tend to get into all kinds of scuffles, and we work hard to make sure they know they cannot do that at school.  We want them to work things out without using violence,” she stated emphatically.

“Of course!”

“Well, your son’s friend was being bullied by a group of boys, and when Josh and he turned to leave the group, one of them kicked Tye in the rear end,” she explained.

Tye was a little overweight, and I knew that the kids picked on him.

“That’s when Josh turned around and kicked the kid as hard as he could in the stomach!”

“We were on the scene fast and hauled all the boys into my office,” she continued.  “Mr. Nelson (not his real name), the assistant principal, and I met with them one by one to stress that this was not acceptable and that they would be suspended.  We met with Josh last.”

“I asked Josh, ‘Why did you think you had to kick that boy in the stomach to solve this problem?'” she related.

“And you know what he told me?” her voice started to break, “He said, ‘Mrs. Johnson (not her real name), it was my moral obligation to defend my friend!’  Mr. Nelson and I looked at each other and tried not to smile.  So, then I said, ‘Well, Josh, these conflicts do not need to be handled like this.  There are other ways to solve conflicts'”

“And that’s when he really made it hard for me to keep a straight face,” she said.  “Do you know what he told me?”

I was glad she was enjoying relating this story.  I never knew what Josh would say.

“He said, ‘Well, Mrs. Johnson, maybe Mr. Nelson can explain it to you, but sometimes in life a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.‘  And that’s when I had to get him out of my office because Mr. Nelson and I were about to die laughing.”

I hung up the phone after I shared her amusement, although mine was dampened by a nagging worry, “Dear God, what have we been teaching this kid?”

I guess that’s what parents worry about all the time.  At least some do.


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