What I Know to Be True … And I Don’t Know Much

by Cate on January 14, 2013

my littles

Ernest Hemingway once said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

To write “the truest sentence that you know,” just one sentence, is a huge amount of pressure.

But my sentence? Right this very second?

You should never, ever be made to feel bad about being good.

And that sentence, of course, can be interpreted into a million different ways. And will mean different things to different people.

But what I know to be true … is that I am doing my darnedest to raise good children. Children who go out of their way for others without hesitation. Children who have good hearts. Hearts that anyone is lucky to know.

And I will be darned if anyone is going to make them feel bad or upset because they do the right thing.

There is a kid in Nick’s class that was being picked on. Left out. Singled out.

And my son. My son with the good heart. Made friends with that kid. Went out of his way for him. Included him. Befriended him.

And now?

Now Nick is included in being picked on because of this. He’s being tripped. Called names. Being made fun of. Pencils and other items are being stolen from his desk.

Because he did the right thing.

On his own.

Not because someone told him to.

Because it’s the right thing to do.

And while my original line of thinking was that there’s a fine line between being nice and good, and being so nice that you get walked on, and Nick needs to learn how to stand up for himself…

I thought that until I realized one thing.

He did take a stand.

At the most important time. When it mattered the most.

He took a stand for the other kid who was being picked on.

But in the meantime, my heart hurts once again. (And when I saw him post this on his Instagram last night, I just wanted to wake him and tell him it will be ok.) And it’s at the point where he can’t handle it on his own anymore. And I wait for the teacher to call to discuss.

Over the weekend, The Ex and I sat down to talk about it with Nick. Madeline came over next to me and tugged on me to get me to bend down so she could whisper in my ear.

“Mommy, there’s this boy in class. A couple of them. And they’re hurting Nick, being mean to him. It makes me sad. And really mad. We need to do something.”

For now? The truest sentence I know?

You should never, ever be made to feel bad about being good.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne January 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

UGH poor Nick! Such a good, friendly kid should NEVER be made to feel bad about doing the right thing. I hope the teacher and you guys get this all sorted out soon. You’re raising two AMAZING kids, Cate, and don’t you ever forget it!
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Sister In-law January 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

You are doing a wonderful job! Both Nick & Maddie have the biggest heart! Please let me know if there’s anything I can do.

SIL

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patsy January 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

I hate hearing that Nick is getting picked on for doing the right thing. It’s good that you are going to work with the teacher on this because bullying is such a problem in spite of all the new “rules” that were put in place last year in the schools.
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Paula Ann January 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

We’ve dealt with a similar problem since we moved from Oklahoma to Kansas last year, Cate. I guess my son has lived a pretty sheltered life. His new classmates were more than willing to give him an “education” on all things 6th graders, now 7th graders, think everyone their age should know. The result: he lost the sweet innocence that was such a part of my kind, caring son for all those years. Was I angry? You bet. I know they all have to grow up and discover the sometimes ugly realities of this world, but the longer they get to stay kids, the better, at least in my book! He was picked on and targeted by some of the boys and was pretty miserable for awhile. His dad and I spent a lot of time talking to him about the insecurities of bullies and how they lash out at others because they really don’t feel good about themselves. It was rough going for awhile, but this year things have improved tremendously. He’s finally developing some friendships with some of the bullies, but on his terms. I have to add that it’s an extremely small school. There are only 20 students in the 7th grade class, so avoiding the kids who picked on him wasn’t possible. You have to admire a young man who won’t compromise what he knows is the right thing to do. I hope Nick will have the same experience. We requested a meeting with the school guidance counselor and I believe it really helped in our situation. Sorry I’ve rambled on, but I just want you to know that I can empathize with your situation. I’m praying things will get better for Nick.

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Christa the BabbyMama January 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

That’s so awful! Kids can be so cruel and it makes me sad to think of my own kids eventually getting big enough to be on the receiving end.
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Meg January 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

So sorry to hear Nick is going through this — and you’re absolutely right: no one should be made to feel bad for doing the right thing. I remember getting teased in school, but I think kids today have it much harder than I did back in the early ’90s. Technology makes it all the easier to be cruel, for sure — and I hope this is all resolved quickly.
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Tanya January 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Your poor son. I am so sorry that he is being bullied. You should be very proud of him though that he took a stand and befriended the other kid that was being bullied. He is going to grow up with a great heart.
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KS January 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

The fact that you have such a good open relationship with him is so important for these parts. He’s a good, strong boy. Dooce yesterday had another lovely post on her girl going through the same sort of standing up for another kid. I really liked her perspective on how to explain it to the littles. Talking to them like people. All the best to you and your family.

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Kris #40 January 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I’m so sad for him! Kids are just awful. Contact the school.

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Cindy January 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm

This problem starts in about the 5th grade and will continue to get worse until about the middle of the 7th grade. At least that is how it went for my son. As a parent it rips you apart on the inside. Middle school is awful for both boys and girls. We had our son meet with a school counselor about once a week to help him deal in a positive way what was happening to him and ways to cope. Just know that you are not alone.

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Mel January 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

your kids are adorable. keep praying and believing that there can be redemption for everyone in this situation from the naughty to the nice. a lesson in true manhood. thank you for posting this. its gives me strength and hope that I am not alone. this is why being good against the seeming odds is so important, it changes the world.

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