Friday, February 11, 2011

Taming the Bully

CBSNewYork.com reports, “The Department of Education estimates as many as 160,000 children a day stay home from school because of the threat.”

There are all degrees of bullying and sometimes kids can even be bullied by adults. On her second week of First grade, I asked my daughter, “Why don’t you want to buy lunch at school anymore?”

She said, “’cause the Lunch Lady screams at me.”

Fighting back all instincts to race to school and kick some crotchety-ass, I said, “There’s only one thing we can do. Bake her cookies.”

We baked the cookies together and imagined why the Lunch Lady was so mean. Maybe she just had a hard life. Maybe she planned on retiring to Florida with her high school sweetheart, but he died before they ever made it out of New Jersey. Now she’s stuck making grilled-cheese sandwiches and mopping floors. Or maybe she just hates the way she looks in a hairnet. We don’t know her story.

My daughter packed the cookies into a brown lunch bag and wrote: To My Lunch Lady, Love Amanda.

She brought cookies to school and handed them over, reluctantly. The Lunch Lady didn’t even glance down. She screamed, “Move it!”

But when Amanda turned around to look at the beast she saw it.  It was so brief and subtle anyone else would have missed it completely. A wink and a smile. Lunch Lady never screamed at Amanda again.

Not only did my daughter tame the heart of the bologna-beast, she also learned a few life lessons:
  • Don't be the victim
  • You have more power than you think
  • Love is much stronger than hatred
  • Trust your Mommy
Not all bullies should be tamed. I teach my kids the first step is to tell someone.

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