Words I never thought I would have to write…our 10 year old daughter was beaten up by a 10 year old boy on the playground last week. This wasn’t just bullying. It was more than that. And it was one of the most frightening things I have ever experienced as a parent.
Here are some quick headlines that I wrote down to process my anger:
“The pathology of misogyny starts in elementary school”
“When boys beat up girls: why girls don’t fight back”
“A mothers anguish starts in 4th grade: grief over the loss of innocence”
“The messiness of bullying: profiles of a potential school shooter”
“How teachers unintentionally perpetuate the patriarchy on the playground”
“Why language is critical in 2018: no sister it wasn’t her fault a 4th grader punched her 5 times and called her a bitch”
“Fists are never a solution to feelings”
“It is NEVER ok to hit a girl”
“Real life advocacy: The Dr. Bird throwdown at an elementary school”
“From anger to Jesus: Mama Bear take a deep breath, drink some water, and listen to your heart”
Now…we could have responded in a million different ways and initially I was so full of anger and righteous fury I could hardly contain myself. I wanted to beat that kid up, scream, lose my mind on the staff at the school.
Meanwhile the little social worker in my head kept saying…he learned this somewhere…this is an opportunity to maybe change his life. Maybe this is an opportunity for transformation.
When were you first introduced to the possibility of making a difference in peoples lives? Was it through hardship and anger? What did you have a vision of?
What is your transformation of vision? I visualized a safer space for our daughter.
It is not what we do, it is who we are that is important. Who are you?
What is your transformation of relationship? I visualized a deeper relationship with the school to keep our daughter safe.
What is the inner transformation within you that is calling you to change, think, or behave differently?
What is your transformation of spirit? I visualized a transformation from anger to action.
Every person that I have talked to about our daughter’s assault – like me – is quick to anger. And then they want to know his punishment. I am not interested in focusing on just that piece of this puzzle.
What I want to know is how we got here. Where does a 10 year old boy learn to hit a girl in the torso while calling her a bitch? Where does a 10 year old boy learn to become violently angry when a girl makes him feel emasculated?
Yesterday in church the pastor said, “This life is your message to the world. Let it be transformed and extraordinary.”
Together let’s transform the conversation so that we are all talking about what we are teaching our young boys about toxic masculinity. What we are teaching our young girls about fighting back when we are being beaten. What we are teaching ourselves by not taking action on things that matter deeply to us.
Start some mayhem, raise some hell,
Dr. Melissa Bird
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