if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
But... if we stay silent, then isn't that permission for them to walk all over us?
All year, a particular girl has been hurting my younger son. I've only mentioned it to the teacher a couple times, because my son wants me to be quiet. He isn't 100% sure that her actions are on purpose (but, he's 99.99% sure.) He doesn't want to be a tattle.
Last year, I witnessed her kick a younger child. I reported it to the principal. The next day, the girl told me (with an eye-roll) that I was wrong. As I calmly explained what I had witnessed with my own eyes, the girl simply turned her back on me and walked away. Her mom --who used to say "hello"-- now only stares at me with steely eyes.
Today, she bashed a ball into my son's face. He had to go to the office to ice his nose. He told me I couldn't tell anyone what happened. He doesn't want retaliation if she gets in trouble. And yet, I hate that the girl can just continue to act out without consequence.
I'm shy about sticking up for myself. And so, I can understand how my son feels. Unfortunately, that also means I'm hesitant to make waves myself, even if I really should Mama Bear a situation.
When I was a yard duty, I only reprimanded two children the whole year. Those two children's parents subsequently contacted me after school to inform me that I must have misunderstood the situation. One parent specifically sought me out to waggle her finger in my face. How dare I disrespect her precious child by accusing him of something he didn't do!
it isn't that others are against you; it is that they are for themselves.
But... sometimes their actions completely defy this - because hurting us does them no good at all.
My older son has his own thorn: a boy whose first-and-final visit to our house was filled with disrespect and behavior more fitting of a preschooler than a middle-schooler. I was shocked at how he barged into my younger son's room to play with (and ultimately break) toys without permission. He haughtily informed us that our house is very small in comparison to his, and wondered why my son doesn't have many items he would consider valuable.
Thankfully, the friendship ultimately ended. But not without some rather surprising, scary, and ultimately harmful events coming to pass. My older son --like my younger son, and like me-- didn't want to make waves.
At one point, I wondered what "good" it was that this boy's family was trying to press issues that wouldn't have done anything for their economic, social, or other status. I couldn't figure out their motivation, other than sheer power over another human being.
Usually I can see the other person's carrot, and can explain it to my sons so that they can at least understand how a different perspective can explain someone's actions.
But, sometimes I cannot.
Will this matter in a year?
The car who sped around me to nab a parking space? That won't matter. I didn't end up in a dangerous situation because I had to park elsewhere.
The woman who decided to leave her entire cart-worth of groceries on the conveyor belt at the store? Thankfully, that won't matter in a year, because that delay didn't put me in an uncomfortable position, even though it may have.
Something that happened three years ago to one of my sons? Yes, it still mattered in a year. It still matters now. His personality has been changed because of it.
Something that happened two years ago to my other son? Yes, it still matters over a year later. But... I know the past is the past. I cannot change the past. I cannot...
I cannot predict the future, but I see some things unraveling that I don't like. I don't have control over other people's kids. I'd like to believe the best in people. I'd like to believe that people can change. But in many cases, I'm looking at the tree as well as the apple, and have my doubts.