Thursday, November 02, 2006
Going home from school today, I noticed the 5th grader in my front seat looking glum. "what's up, Yossi? You look pretty sad." He immediately burst into tears. "Well, you'd be sad too if everybody in class was picking on YOU!"
I gave his shoulder a squeeze. "Yeah, I know how that is." He started regaling me with tales of the bully. "I was just sitting there and he came right into my face! He ripped up the cards in my hand! He shoved me!" "That's not okay!" I said. "Yeah, and I shoved him back!" "Oh," I said. "That's no good. Chassidim don't hit each other." "Yeah, well it was like nails in a hurricane. You know how they pop out? Well that's how it was. I tried and tried to hold it in, but then I just snapped like a hurricane." Then he started crying again.
"You know," I said, "Sometimes people bully when they aren't happy with themselves. Maybe he's picking on you to make himself feel better. I know that sounds weird, but it can be like that sometimes." "Yeah, my mom told me that."
"Maybe you could write him a note? Tell him you want to be friends." "If I wrote him a note he'd just rip it up and laugh at me. I told him if he keeps being mean, I'm going to have my mother call his mother." I inwardly groaned - no better way to ascend the ranks of nerdiness. "Anyway, I'm never going back to that school again. I'll go somewhere else." "Awww, Yossi, I sure would miss you in carpool if you left. And besides, Hashem is going to keep sending you these tests until you pass them. It doesn't matter what school you go to."
We continued talking as he got out of the car. "You know Yossi, you're a great kid. Just because someone is mean to you, doesn't take away from how special you are. It just shows that the other kid has a problem."
I said all the right things, was kind and empathic with him. Nonetheless, my words felt hollow. Getting picked on hurts. Period. And no carpool mommy can fix that.
Not even one as awesome as me.