Last week Son-son was in a fight. This is the first time in his whole 5-year primary school career that he has ever been in a physical fight so I was understandably stunned. He didn’t start the fight but he was in it, and by in it, I mean he was punched and kicked twice by one boy while he lost his footing and fell to the floor. Now thankfully he was not bruised and no bones were broken but I quickly grew to rage as I saw his face swollen, imagined the visual and realized that there was nothing I could have done about it at the time as school was already dismissed.
He’s fine and the matter is settled now with the school but I think in all what really ticked me off was this expressed sentiment by a few that my son couldn’t have defended himself or that he ‘does take licks easy’ and that he’s too ‘sorf’ (soft). “He didn’t know to hit that boy some tap?” Now there was a point in time where it was just my son and I and since then my family has grown but there has always been this idea by some that because he grew up with me in his younger days, he was too ‘up under me’, too sensitive and not ‘tough’ or ‘fearless’ enough.
I don’t know why people don’t understand that my son is not a fighter and that is perfectly OK. He does not like conflict, he does not engage in it and does not want to be caught up in it and that is perfectly OK. He does not like karate and that is OK. He is not devoid of physical activity because he is always on-the-go, sweaty, smelly and speaks excitedly at break-need speed. He is normal, functioning and intelligent. When the time comes he will be able to defend himself wisely and nobody will have to teach him how to throw a punch or to block and that is what it is. I always thank God that he has never been the subject of the bullying that is so rampant in Trinidad and Tobago’s primary schools these days and this was a random, wild incident by a peer who temporarily lost his mind it would seem.
I asked him why he didn’t defend himself, he replied that all he was thinking in the quick time that it happened was that he didn’t want to be expelled from school. He suffered as a result of it but after the fact that answer worked for me especially as I see the result of the tit-for-tat school scuffles bleeding into the secondary school system. I’m raising my son to be a thinker not a fighter and the pure fact of the matter is that the thinkers, the ones who see consequence before action, are the ones who succeed in this life. Plain talk.