To The Bully’s Mom

 

Dear Mom,

It might not be the best time for you to read unsolicited advice and I genuinely hope that you have friends and family around you right now supporting you. I’m sure you’re still able to keep it altogether. That’s our super power, us Moms. I’m writing this down because a lot of people seem to have so many opinions about you and your son and if we were closer than acquainted, I sincerely hope that the brutality of this will someday be at least useful, if not comforting.

There’s a bible verse that resonates to me in light of recent events: John 8:7 “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Admittedly, the first time the news broke out about what happened in school involving your (for you, and he will always be) baby boy hurting another boy, I thought, “what if that was my son?” Assuming shoes of the victim. I’m sure you would have had the same flow of thought if your son wasn’t the hand that struck the first blow. Unspeakable things have been wished upon him and you must be deeply hurt. You must be thinking, “what have I done wrong?” Like any parent would, first to take blame for our children’s actions. I have no desire to throw salt on your injury, I just want you to know that we may never understand what you’re going through but that at least we’re trying.

Our children are peers and although there’s a considerable amount of stories and more videos in the age of social media that have come up, that are trending offensively and challenging our core values, I feel it’s also an opportunity to assess how a long-standing issue of bullying and violence can be addressed in this time and age. Yet at the heart of this remains an inherent need to look at how this will impact our children (involved or not, spectator and even those who have so much to say but have nothing to do with you) in the future.

I tried to process the news with my own son and while I may never understand why he prefers to keep mum about it, I will charge it to the idea that our own husbands and brothers have been through or at least seen a version of this situation during our time and they have come out of it unscathed (or so we think) and or that it’s a guy thing — something supposedly prevalent in private boys schools. It’s a scary time to be a mother to a teenager boy. How do we raise them into men who respect women? How do they turn out to become fathers our future grandchildren will look up to? Is that how we have stood by them amidst the curveballs we have to face ourselves? Or do we make excuses for their behaviour because we think we didn’t raise them right? Or because we’ve been too busy? That’s a lot for one person to handle and I hope you never feel you’re alone. Because while you feel that everyone is ganging up on him right now, I hope you also realise that this is our way of rallying behind you to make sure a lesson is learned and that no one else has to go through what you’re going through right now. Or that your son may rise up from this, feel remorse and make amends like how any man should when he is wrong.

Saan ka nagkulang? It’s not my place to judge you and your parenting style. But it has to be said that sometimes our love for our children clouds our better judgement of them. It pains me to imagine what consequences your son will face from hereon because more than his victims, what happens moving forward will affect him more than any of them. But that’s exactly the point, Mom. Those are consequences of his actions and he has to take them. Not you. He will forever be changed and while I hope this time in his life will prove who his real friends are, it also prematurely tests his character and will make it so much harder for him to be loved. So if not within your family, where else can he expect the brutal kindness of honesty and how the immediate effects of the pain his (best to consider him this way), ignorance has caused reverberates in his adult life and his most vital relationships? How would you like to love him? I’m sure you will do anything for him and this is the kind of situation where you have to take a step back and ask yourself: am I loving him right if I make excuses for him? Am I truly helping him by tolerating this behaviour? How do me and my husband, from his point of view still make him feel loved while learning from this experience?

I pray that your iron clad fist is intact as your love is strong; I pray that your tears are felt and your wisdom heard and may you and your family find a way to make peace, seek forgiveness and have a heartfelt happy holidays.