I was trapped. My breathing became irregular and I could feel my heartbeat race. I panicked as I looked around me and knew I was prisoner in this vehicle.
Two of the kids were discussing something they had seen on TV that had escaped the rigid parental control setting and now I was being questioned. I could either throw myself out into the oncoming traffic slowed to 15mph for the school children zone, or face the question. Knowing that cars were not moving fast enough to get me out of it, and I still had laundry at home waiting, I went ahead and told them my truth.
I cringed a little in my human brain because I just taught them “hate speech.” I knew if they ever repeated it in the school cafeteria, they would be marched straight to the school counselor and would probably be given a mountain of pamphlets contrary to what I just said. They would be targeted by school psychologists and black listed for the rest of their public school careers. They would have to sit at a special lunchroom table reserved for the most criminal of the elementary school antagonists.
My heart though, the moral compass that rules my parenting, was willing to take a chance that, although a single letter would be emblazoned on their tiny chests marking them for life,they would make the right choice.
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The viewed incident in question was about bullies in school. The cute little skit detailed out how you should walk away and find a trusted adult, so nobody got anything hurt worse than their feelings. The question from the Peanut Brigade behind me was more serious in nature than being picked on for having big ears. It had more to do with kids being physically violent or threatening tortures much worse than wedgies.
The deliverer of the hate speech, me, just told them to stand up for themselves and their siblings. Fortunately they have enough siblings in the same school (5 of them in all) that they qualify for a gang! I doubt anyone will mess with The Neighbours’ kids, because they think they are worth fighting for.
The rhetoric that they hear is that they are safe in school because policies have been put into place that will prevent bullying from happening. (Where have we heard this before, especially lately?) These policies don’t quite touch that explosive moment when a temper flares. The policies don’t catch the look right before a shove in the hallway happens. This is life with humans and there is no safe place that a policy can ensure that emotion can’t intrude.
I want them to hear my “hate speech” in their heads for the rest of their lives, no matter what policies get enforced on them. It’s the same “hate speech” that our forefathers were kicking around at the start of this nation that has gotten jumbled up in policies meant to weaken and conform.
It’s the words that ensure them that they are worth fighting for and their beliefs will not be stripped from them. Words that tell them that nobody has the right to take away their right for happiness. Words from a conservative mom that remind them of their faith and freedom. Phrases that said:
“Don’t you start it, but you can finish it.”
I’m sure by policy standards I am raising bullies, because anytime anybody stands on a line in the sand they are now branded a “bully” or a deliverer of “hate speech.” Heaven forbid it have religious backing as well. Now you are an intolerant bully.
As I looked in the rear view mirror at the faces of 5 children, I saw boldness and strength from my little gang. I waited until the next red light to bow my head for a moment. I prayed that our country isn’t so screwed up by the time that they get to be adults that their strength is whisked away by the bureaucratic bullies who want them to believe that they are weak, unimportant and just one of many.