We all know the famous sayings attributed to children……Out of the mouth of babes.... or Kids say the darndest things. Usually, the child is speaking his innocent view or understanding of life situations around him. We all laugh and say very sweet or something to that effect and share the cute comment with our friends and family.
But, what happens when what comes out of a child’s mouth is not cute, but instead hurtful, very hurtful at times.
Taunting or bullying in school, on the bus or on the playground is not new, but today, has come out of the closet so to speak and is a serious problem for today's youths.
Children complain of stomach aches in the morning so that they don't have to go to school. Young teens have been known to commit suicide because they could not handle the bullying. Facing another day for these children was just too painful.
The little children's poem "sticks and stones will hurt my bones but words will never hurt me" is just not true. Words do hurt and the pain can last a lifetime.
Why am I bringing up this subject. An incident happened last week to one of my grandsons that has upset me very much.
My grandson Nadav is seven years old, with an infectious smile, a heart of gold and peyos which he has had since he was three years old. Now he had peyos like his big brother.
Nadav is in Kita א [grade 1] in a Torani school and all last summer he couldn't wait for school to start. He was going to school not gan [kindergarten] with his older siblings. He would take the school bus with them and come home and do homework. He was so proud of his new schoolbag and supplies and showed them off.
Last Thursday, Nadav came home from school and after saying hello, his mother looked at him and said "Nadav, where are your peyos?" He replied, "I cut them off in school." Nadav then went on to tell his mother that one boy called him a very vulgar name referring to the peyos and was able to get some of the other boys in the class to join in and continue the bullying. Their teacher was not in class that day as she is off on Thursdays.
I don't know if they dared him to cut them, but Nadav saw no other option than to do so to stop the bullying.
Devorah sent a SMS to his teacher who called back and wanted more information. She said she would call this boys parents and deal with the problem immediately, which she did. The teacher said said that on Friday she would speak to the entire class about how much words can hurt.
Thursday evening, Nadav cried and wanted his peyos back. Devorah explained to him that they will grow back but it is going to take time. He didn't want to go to school Friday morning, but Devorah convinced him that his teacher will take care of him.
Since time is a concept that is difficult for young children...on Shabbat morning Nadav said to his mother...."did they start to grow back yet?"
Teachers must be on the look out for the child that has to bully others in order to raise their own self esteem. These children are screaming for help. Parents have to watch for 'friends' that always have to be first or play the game their way and carefully encourage other friendships.
Please feel free to comment and share.
Until next time