I need help. My 9-year-old son is being bullied. Again.
I want advice, tools, tricks, books, magic words to build strength in my boy - social resilience is the key word. There's something in him that puts him repeatedly in this role, and it's my job to help him grow past it. The growing has to be from and by and through him, but I'm looking for ways to support him, guide him, mentor and teach and hold space and shine a light that will help him find the way.
I want a magic mirror that lets him see into the future. Lets him see the beautiful confident man he will grow to become, when these playground terrors are done with. Some of the same traits that make him a target now will make him free and unique and cherished when he's older. That may not make him less afraid to go to the morning line-up outside the classroom, but it strengthens me to have this confidence in that special light of his that will shine so bright later on, and maybe it can be something for him to hold onto when he's a bit older.
I want a best friend for him. Just one or a few peers who see the beauty and honour the odd in him, that he doesn't have to try so hard or wonder so much or long so hard to feel loved or even liked. Overall the children do like and appreciate him, but he's not the top of anyone's birthday invite list and he feels it.
I want him to like himself. Miraculously he still embraces his own different ways of being in the world, still is natural and free in who he is. But the unforgiving social mirror makes it hard to feel likeable sometimes, and when he jokingly calls himself a "dumbhead" there's a doubtful part that wonders if it's true.
I want his childhood to last as long as he deserves. He's still a little boy, imaginative, innocent, believing, wondering, a bit magical, a lot wide-eyed. It's too soon to have to put up guards, to be afraid, to learn to Deal with stuff. He needs to experience the world, not manage it or fear it or make the best of it.
I want school to feel safe for him. As a member of the Social Health Committee I'm respectful of the serious steps the school has taken, and we've mobilized the protocol to bring the whole community in on the solution. This includes meetings with the teacher, heart-felt communication with the other child's parent, and a faculty-wide report so that all eyes can be watchful and compassionate toward both boys. I don't believe that policing is the ultimate answer, and I don't believe that the one other boy is the whole problem, but an immediate sense of safety will open up space for the other work of strengthening our son's resilience.
For myself, I just want to be held. To be told that I'm right in believing in my son, that others see his special sun and how it shines and will continue to shine. I want to hear about other parents and children's struggles and successes, to know that there are many paths and that all have been walked before us. I want to hear that others are watching and holding Galen and our family, and reaching out as possible with invitations to play, or kind words, or kind and hopeful thoughts. To know that we're not as alone as Galen sometimes feels.
I want my summer break Galen back. The one who feels light and natural. The goofy, laughing, sensitive, inquisitive, self-challenging, exploring, treasure-finding child who only knows flowers and basketballs. We managed to not lose most of that when school started in the fall, but 2 weeks after a warm, centred family Christmas I can feel him slipping away. The hugs and snuggles are more insistent and searching, the calls for reassurance and connection more frequent and hungry.
This is more than rhetorical reflection or poetry. It's a genuine call for help and support. I know that loving my boy is the best I can do, and I'm trying to hold him in every way possible. But any of the above wants that you can help us find, any advice or ideas or telepathic hugs or or or..., send them this way. My boy needs me right now, and I'll leave no rock unturned to give him what he needs.
Last Word - This little place to turn and pace filled up with sand sometimes with grace O wheels, turn O letters, burn I fire the love for which I yearn A half-made s...