It's quarter to midnight and I got out of bed to write this because I’m so upset thinking about this that I can’t sleep. After an amazingly difficult week at work and barely seeing my kids, I took off early today to pick them up from daycare. Since the kids go to daycare at Husband’s work, I almost never do drop off or pick up, and having mommy at daycare is a big treat for all of us. But today, as I was walking out to the playground to pick up KJ, Husband stopped me and showed me the cubby and picture of a kid I’ll call Jackson.
“See this kid?” Husband asks me. I nod. “KJ said Jackson doesn’t like him. Apparently Jackson told him they weren’t friends.” Immediately, I go into momma bear protection mode. Who the heck is this kid and where does he get off telling KJ he doesn’t like him? KJ is an amazing, easy going little boy who wins over everybody he meets. I ask husband for more details about KJ’s statement, but KJ is three. It’s just one of those things he told Husband on the way into work one day. But my heart sinks.
Within thirty minutes of my daughter’s birth (and therefore while she was still screaming at the top of her little lungs), I apologized to Sweet Pea for one day having to endure junior high. But for some reason, I never considered that my son would face the same mean-spirited immaturity that seems to ooze out of junior high girls. And here he is dealing with it at three.
It’s not fair that at three years old the world is already divided into bullies and everyone else. Kids have their whole lives to learn about (and apparently inflict) hate and hurt. Why can’t they hold onto babyhood for a little while longer?
And it isn’t fair that at three years old my son has to learn that some people will hate just because they can. KJ is a likable, affable guy. I want him to have time to become comfortable with himself so that’s he’s confident in who he is when others start tearing him down.
But KJ is a surprising guy. Later this evening while getting ready for bed KJ brought up Jackson again. Husband asked KJ if he played with Jackson, and KJ responded no. And although the rest of his response wasn’t completely intelligible, KJ expressed something about how Jackson treats others and said “I make the better choice.”
To KJ – I can’t tell you how proud of you I am for making the better choice. At three, you have shown a self-confidence and maturity beyond your years. Treating others with respect and being true to who you are will always lead you on the right path in life. I pray that you will always have the strength and maturity to follow your heart the way you do today.
And to Jackson – Enjoy junior high, buddy. It's all down hill from there.