Cut Like A Knife

By: sonofabeach96

Jan 09 2016

Category: Uncategorized

42 Comments

We were forced to face a touchy situation this past week.  It was one I hadn’t counted on discussing at length, with my boys that is, for some time.  I didn’t know when, someday likely, but not now.  Its not a usual topic in our house.  And it came outta the blue.

My oldest, as some of you may know, is autistic.  Not severely autistic mind you, but autistic nonetheless.  One of his major obstacles is learning to see things in a non-concrete way.  To understand, if even just a bit, innuendo, social skills and sarcasm.  All these are abstract concepts.  Something an autistic child doesn’t process fully.  He used to take great offense to a joke being played on him, even a totally innocent one.  Sarcastic responses in a goofy-dad-kinda-way were taken literally.  Typical horsing around by other boys in school resulted in a pouting session.  These things are much better now, attributable to age, maturity, and back-breaking effort from us, but it’s still an unnatural act for him.

He’s also very impressionable and easily manipulated by snarky little shits who think its cool to get the “special” kid to do something stupid.  Nothing pisses me off more than the thought of someone taking advantage of my son simply for their own amusement.  It’s a small country town.  The kids in my boys’ classes have been there for every school year together.  I know nearly every kid in their classes.  I know their parents too.  When it’s happened in the past, we just have a little chat with the offender.

There’s one little guy in particular that has been a thorn in our side since kindergarten.  He has a twin brother, and as little dudes they were terrific.  Sweet, always played right alongside my son, even though he was…different.  As they grew, they began to…not pick on my son, but play pranks, easily trick him into doing stupid stuff, getting him in trouble or embarrassing him.  The lack of social skills I’ve mentioned?  By doing something that one of the “cool” kids says to do, the “cool” kid will like him, be his friend, right?  We all know that’s not the case.  My son doesn’t get that yet.  He has a couple of good, do-the-sleepover-thing friends, but they aren’t the “cool” kids.  This kid is.  And he takes advantage of my boy, just to be a snarky little shit!

Anyway, the other day, my wife gets a call from school.  His resource teacher and his principal.  Ruh roh!  Turns out he had asked his resource teacher a question.  He wanted to know a definition.  The meaning of one single word.  A bad word.  They wanted to see how we chose to handle it.  You may be thinking the “F” word, the “S” word, or the “GD” word.  Nope.  Those paaaaalllle in comparison.  I’m embarrassed to even write it, and refuse to spell it.  The word in question was…the “n” word.  It mortified my wife and myself. I could not possibly figure out where he’d even heard the word.  It sure wasn’t from within the confines of THIS home, I can tell ya that!

It was shocking to say the least.  When pressed for the ‘why’s,’ the ‘from-where’s,’ and the ‘do-you-know-why-that-word-is-never-to-be-used?’s, we found out it was from his dear old friend, the snarky little shit.  A term he introduced to our son, that he’s used in reference to his own brother, was recycled in a moment of frustration and directed at a child he was irritated with.   My son heard him say it, as did a couple other kids.  We know this girl.  She’s the sweetest one in his class.  She helps my son take notes, waits with him until he’s picked up at the front of the school, and boogies with him at dances.  She’s awesome.  Can you imagine what she must’ve thought?

My son had no idea what the word even meant.  He had no idea the level of insult, the belittling, or the pointing out of someone’s differences this word could denote.  We pointed out to him that saying what that boy said to her, he was singling her out, making her feel that she was different, not wanted there, looked down upon, or some lesser individual, simply because of her appearance. Something completely beyond her control. With this one horrendous word, that boy was implying he’s better than that person, more important, more worthy.

To make our point, in terms he can relate to, we brought up his differences, that he’s well aware of by the way.  We talked about  the pain of being called out or insulted, simply because he doesn’t learn nor behave like the others in his school. He immediately related to that injury and isolation.  He’s felt it firsthand.  We also made it known, in no uncertain terms, that just because the snarky little shit says it,or tries to coax you into saying it, you are not to EVER say it!

That isn’t how our boys have been raised.  They have never heard that word come out of anyone’s mouth in this house, or any other that we frequent.  Our family and friends are a rainbow of diversity.  There’s Christians, Muslims, Jews, Atheists, Buddhist,  Iranian, Vietnamese, African-American, conservative, liberal, gay, lesbian, hippies, doctors, musicians, and artists.  They have been taught to view people based on how they act, how friendly they are, how much fun they are, etc., not skin color or nationality.  Trust me, that’s by design and diligence.  In spite of our efforts in teaching them acceptance, respect, and exposing them to different cultures, music, societies, and arts, it still permeated.  The notion of bigotry, racism, and non-acceptance crept into our walls.  And I’m not happy about it.

In some way though, this was a good teaching moment.  That night, we sat them down in what I refer to as “huddling up”, even the twins, who weren’t involved at all.  We started by saying my oldest heard a bad word at school today.  The twins, who inherited my wife’s family gene for the gift of gab, immediately start trying to guess which one.  When we finally said, “No, it’s the “n” word”, they looked puzzled.  They didn’t know what it was either.  They do now.  And they also now know to never use the word, ever, and why.

I can’t imagine the effect that had on her, hearing someone say that to her, in a place that is supposed to be a safe haven. Words certainly cut like a knife.  Actually, a wound from a knife heals, scars over.  The wound from a single word can create damage that may last a lifetime.  After that days’ event, all of my boys are now acutely aware of that.  I hope we handled that well enough to prevent it from ever being a question again.  More importantly, I hope they realize WHY it shouldn’t.

My songs of the day are:

“One Love/People Get Ready” by Bob Marley

“Nothing Can Come Between Us” by Sade

“People Are People” by Depeche Mode

“More Than One Way Home” by Keb’ Mo’

“People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield

“Why Can’t We Be Friends?” by War

 

 

42 comments on “Cut Like A Knife”

  1. I’m so sorry this happened in the first place but it sounds like you and your wife has handled the situation perfectly by finding ways to relate the situation to your son! Awesome parenting!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. It’s incredibly hard to protect our angels from the devils…my definition of bullying includes pranking people that don’t quite get it…it hurts them…it’s bullying…if it’s discipline or medical or some such then pain might be involved…if the person is being hurt for another person’s pleasure it’s bullying….the “n” would get me BEAT!!! And not just at home…I live in the ghetto…the bullets are real…I’m really glad you hate the word…have you considered approaching the girl’s family? Or just let it go?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. You and your wife did well in handling it. Bringing the twins in as well was smart.

    Some kids are such assholes. I’ve often talked about this with my friends. Some kids are just mean spirited and I want to punch them. I am always making sure my kids know the impact words and actions make. I never want a “mean girl” as a kid and she would be sure as shit punished if she ever tried it. Zero tolerance policy. (For my boy as well.)

    Parenting… You do your best and hope for the best. You guys did great and are raising kids that will be good and positive contributors to society. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m glad you’ve said that belittling people is not just about using words. It’s about how we treat people. Just this week, some guy from the World Bank spent five minutes apologising to me after he’d made a serious mistake. I don’t walk around impressing my credentials on people and he was talking down to me (for all the obvious reasons) until he realised he had got it all backwards. Instead of accepting his apology, I told him that if I want to be respected for who I am, I must accept condescension as part of the process, as it helps me separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. He is mostly impressed with titles and status symbols and liked to think he is always the most important guy in the room. Ironically, I was one of the conveners of the conference, standing in front of him dressed head to toe in designer clothing and accessories. Being a woman, it would not occur to him that the friendly banter was part of my job. I let him know that his principles are shaky if he gets distracted by race, nationality and gender. Bigotry is a refining process that blinds people to what they are really looking for. But there I was, welcoming him in friendship.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well, my daughter learned her first cuss word while I was pushing the shopping cart through Wal-Mart. So, it happens. The important thing is how we handle it – how we teach them. You done good.

    I’ve actually been reading some light fiction – it’s kind of chick lit, but it is written from the perspective of someone who clearly has Aspergers. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It’s a fun read, and as the spouse and stepmom of two similarly-wired men, I laugh and nod along a lot with this one.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am very impressed with how you and your wife handled this. Holy good parenting, batman.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can only imagine how upset you were. I’m impressed that you were able to relate to your son in a way that he really understood the impact. Hopefully he can stay away from the little shit lol.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No doubt! We’ve had issues with the little guy for 9 years now. But this was a whole other level. Little shit is right! 😃

      Liked by 3 people

      • Your twin boys should scare the crap out of the little shit lol. Only kids we were allowed to bully was the bully. It changes a kids life when they are bullied but then get to see how scared n cowardly the bully gets when someone picks on him. It usually empowered them to stand up for themselves and not be afraid. And the bully learned it feels horrible to be on receiving end. This was way before DASA laws and not very pc but it worked lol.

        Liked by 3 people

      • It still does. But my oldest doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. I’m trying to empower him to stand up for himself more. Hell, he’s a purple belt in Tai Kwan Do. He could kick the kids’ ass if he wanted to. Not his style though.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. So many people miss these teachable moments with autistic kids. Even teachers do. They just avoid it and hope it goes away. I’m happy everyone learned from this.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Education is best. My stepdaughters are half native and we had to teach them where the views originated from and why people feel that way. I have an old history book that stills refers to natives as savages! The excuses that society made to force them to conform to a certain way of life! I really like the way you approached this…taking mental parenting notes for the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You did good! The sad thing is that the little shit probably has a big shit nearby, where all his little shit comes from.
    You did good by telling how such words can hurt forever and leave scars. When I was a kid our teacher had a talk with our class when one girl in the class had said she didn’t like how some boys and I think some girls talked about her and to her. Our teacher asked us if we wanted to be in that girls situation. No one wanted that and even the mean boys did realized what they had done. They actually apologized and were truthfully sorry. I think all of us learned a lot that day. The girls braveness to tell it’s not okay, I’m feeling bad when hearing mean words. The teacher standing up for the girl and asking class “do you feel good when one of your friends feeling this way after your words”. The class, feeling bad for being bad, but come to senses and understand that hurting friends by meaning or without knowing it hurts it’s not a good way to live life. We were about 11-12 years I think. I remember it still as if it was yesterday, but its over thirty years ago. Your boys will remember your talk.

    Liked by 1 person


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