Friday, March 25, 2005


A Little Manly Life Lesson

Mrs. Dadmanly shared another Little Manly story with me today, and I thought people would appreciate it, as I think it stands as a good moral for the rest of us.

Little Manly had a little run in at his after school program the other day. One of the other boys knocked him down, and hit him on the side of his head. From the description of what happened, it didn't sound like an accident.

Now this is one of those "life lesson opportunities" that parents both look forward to, but also struggle with. My parents never came to agreement on this situation, as I was confronted with it often as a child.

My mom would say, "just walk away" or "tell the teacher." My Dad would say, "punch him in the nose and run away." Needless to say, I didn't have a clear idea, and by the time I decided what the right response to a bully needed to be, it was a little too late. (But that as they say, is another story for another time.)

The Mrs. and I have discussed this too, I want Little Manly to be able to defend himself, I don't want him to be afraid to stand up to bullies, or for what's right. I want to tell him that he may need to act, but then be willing to suffer the consequences of whatever he decides to do. But I can't say I've had many chances to have that talk.

So now this happens the other day, and I'm here in Iraq (well, at this precise moment, Qatar on a 4 day pass), and I have to just listen to how it all played out.

Little Manly got himself up, ran after the boy, and punched him. Then he moved away from him, because he said "he's bigger and I thought he might come back after me."

He got a timeout. (He NEVER gets in trouble with his teachers.)

Some time into the timeout, the teacher told him, "You can come out now."
Little Manly said, "I don't think I've been in here long enough."

The teacher looked at him, said, "go on, now. Go back to play."

I guess I didn't need to worry about having that chat. I think, as with many things with my son, he figured it out for himself. And I think he'll be the wiser for it. (I think the other boy, and maybe the teacher too, will be the wiser for it as well.)

And Dad, just from me to you, I think you were right.

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