Recently, I decided that the time has come to remove my children from their extremely small, private, faith-based school. The reasons why and how I came to this decision are a topic for another blog post. But, suffice it to say, it was not a decision I came to easily.
One of the many reasons I preferred private school was because I felt the small size of the school kept my kids safer than if they were one of the masses in the public domain. You see, my son, Quinn, is a bit of a peanut. A whole lot of charm, intelligence, and wit is packed into his 12 year old, 63 lb., 4’5” frame. But, the reality is, charm, wit, and adorable dimples will only carry him so far. Eventually, some dumb jock is going to look at Quinn and see nothing more than an easy target to prove his “masculinity”. I had hoped to keep Quinn at his parochial school until he grew bigger. Only he hasn’t grown or gained anything in over two years, and we’ve run out of time.
So I am teaching Quinn how to fight.
Well, actually, since there are just some things Moms shouldn’t teach their sons, I am making arrangements for a former soldier turned law enforcement friend of mine to teach him for me. Although Peter is a sweet, loving, caring, good man -- a brawler he is not. And the sad fact is I have been in more fist fights than Quinn’s father, so he’s not my primero uno choice either.
I don’t want the so-called self-defense courses they teach locally. I’m sure they’re fine and dandy, but that’s not what I have in mind. And as much as Quinn really enjoyed his tae kwon do classes, I felt it looked more like aggressive dancing than self-protection, so that’s not going to work either. Pretty just isn’t going to cut it.
See -- all fighting is dirty.
My brother taught me that a long, long time ago. There’s no such thing as a clean fight when it comes to the playground. It’s about being able to walk away with all your teeth and your pride intact... the rest doesn’t really matter so much.
I was lucky to have a brother to teach me: Try to walk away. If you can’t walk away, run. If you can’t run away, strike hard and fast and don’t stop until they’re down on the ground and then get the hell out of there. Go for the eyes, throat, or knees. It only takes minimal strength to rip someone’s ear off. If it’s a guy, grab their balls, squeeze, and twist. If it’s a girl, wrap their hair around your fist and yank with all your might. An elbow to the back of the neck can knock someone out (I actually used that move on a drunken pursuer in college. The guy face-planted in the middle of the street. I took off my heels and ran like the wind -- shocked that it actually worked.)
Now before all my liberal pacifist friends get all fired up that I’m advocating violence -- let me be VERY clear... I am not.
However, one only needs to spend a few moments perusing the headlines to see, we have a bullying epidemic. Kids are being tortured by other kids in new and shocking ways all the time. Suicides are rampant and our kids are in crisis. No matter how many parents are teaching their kids that violence isn’t the answer, there are still some that are teaching them (through thought or deed) that it is. And those sadistic assholes have some pretty easy pickings out there. I refuse to let my kid be one of them.
I don’t trust the administration and the establishment within our education system to protect my child. I have yet to find a school that enforces their alleged anti-bullying plan effectively. I’ve seen friends struggle to get their school to address obvious issues. With elementary schoolers committing suicide, I don’t think calling the bullying issue an education plague is an exaggeration. It’s brutal out there. I should know.
You see... once... a long, long time ago... I was a bit of a peanut myself. I was 5’2” tall when I graduated high school, and still didn’t quite hit 100 lbs on the scale. I was a nonconformist, a bit of a loner, didn’t hang with the “right” crowd. I had a target on me too. A group of girl jocks liked to gather behind me every. single. day. as I walked the halls; calling me names and kicking my feet out from under me. My parents had complained multiple times to no avail -- these were the winning girls basketball team members and I was a smartass little loner -- who do you think mattered more?
One day, as I endured my five minute hell-walk between classes, as the biggest girl kicked me one too many times, something inside me just snapped. Like a feral animal backed into a corner, I turned. I can still remember how this nearly 6 foot tall girl’s eyes widened as she looked down at 5 foot tall me. Something instinctual must have clued her in. Uh-oh. I whirled, arms outstretched, my hands around her throat and ran her backwards across the hall straight into the lockers. As the jaws of her posse of followers dropped, she squeaked out (my hands were squeezing with all their might -- a squeak was all she could get out), “What is your PROBLEM?!?” As I throttled her with every ounce of my being, I repeatedly banged her head back against the locker, “I think (crash) you are (crash) a BITCH (crash). THAT’S (crash) my problem (crash). Any (crash) questions?" As I let her go and she stumbled to her friends, she exclaimed, “Jesus. You’re CRAZY!”
Crazy I may have been, but no one ever bothered me again.
Quinn is a pacifist by nature. He’s good humored, makes friends easily, and is comfortable enough in his own skin that verbal insults don’t bother him much. Call him a dork and he’ll respond, “Dorks rule the world!” Call him small and he’ll exclaim, “The best things come in small packages.” He’s smart enough that he can hold his own in a war of words. But when some meathead jagoff mothereffer decides that fists beat words just like rock beats scissors... my kid will be ready for him. I fully intend for him to have the ability to strike fast, and hard, and get out with all the teeth we’ve spent a fortune straightening intact.
And if he doesn’t -- I’d watch out for his sister. She’s tougher than anyone I’ve ever met.