Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Arrogant Disrespect and Apathy

When the group arrived, four kids and two adults were in the pool. A boy wearing glasses, sat relaxing in a lawn chair next to the hot tub reading a book. There were 4 kids in the arriving group and a man trailed after them. The kids put their stuff down and began running and jumping into the pool, splashing a lady and her 12 year old daughter. They were laughing, running and splashing. The lady and her daughter were not amused when they kept moving to a different area only to find the kids still splashing them.

The oldest in the group of kids was clearly the leader, as the other kids followed him and copied his actions. He seemed to be about 11.

He ran and jumped into the hot tub. His jump didn't produce the splash he wanted. He took off his mask scooped up water and threw it at the 10 year old that was reading a book. Startled, the boy shrugged it off, and began reading again.

I gave the 11 year old a mean glare. In defiance, he splashed the boy again.

A minute later I decided to lay on a lawn chair near the hot tub.

The 10 year old decided to get in the pool.

Within a few minutes, the 11 year old was in the pool, with 3 other boys in tow. He began taunting the 10 year old.

11 year old, "You're gay."

10 year old, "No"

11 year old, "That boy (pointing to one in his group) said you are gay."

10 year old, "No."

11 year old, "Yes you are."

10 year old, "No, I'm not. NO."

The 11 year old looked up and saw my stare. Smugly he said, "He (pointing the 10 year old's brother) said my brother is gay.

I answered: "No. He did not."

The rest of the pool visit by the 2nd group of kids consisted of a medley of disrespectful actions. The boys went into the work out room (you have to go through there to go to the bathrooms) and I witnessed them hanging on weight machines until they were kicked out of the gym area. They also were messing with a pool light (the kind that is under water on the side of the wall). The light came out of the pool wall. I did not witness when it came out of the wall so I could not claim with absolute certainty (when the apartment manager came to inspect it) that it was their fault. I have my suspicions, though.

The other adults (which included 3 additional adults and two more kids) were astounded that the dad did nothing but layout in the sun. He did not care that the kids were being disrespectful to others and messing with the pool property. When the kids were restless (and not allowed to ride their scooters into the pool), the dad said, "Oh, are you ready to go?" About that time, an apartment manager yelled out to the man, by name, that his kids were being disrespectful and they needed to stop or they wouldn't be allowed back. They left.

The light was reported and the pool had to be closed for the maintenance worker to fix the light.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The 10 year old is my son. The 11 year old was out of control. He was a bully. The dad was either oblivious or apathetic.

I wanted to yell at the man. I wanted to pull the 11 year old out of the pool and lecture him. I knew that would be fruitless. I wanted to yell at that man.

More than anything, I wanted to support my son - not embarrass him but support him. Parenting a child that is easily picked on is difficult.

We talked about the incident later. Aside from not embarrassing my son at the pool, the best thing I could do was to make sure we discussed what happened. My son recognizes the problem was the other kid and not him. But, he admits that he didn't like what he was saying to him and how he was treating him.

I want to empower my son and encourage him to be strong and confident.

The arrogant disrespect from the other boy and the severe apathy of the man has left me impassioned and indignant.

My prayer: Oh Lord, please help my son have a good year in this new school he will be attending. Please let him make wonderful friends. Give him confidence and let him have fun. Give me wisdom to guide and encourage.


Foursons said...

Oh.my.word. I admire your restraint, I don't know if I could have stayed quiet through that. I'm so sorry your son was treated so poorly. I hope these boys are not at the same school as your kids. Ugh.

Jane Anne said...

I don't know if my restraint is commendable. It was what my son needed -not what the boy and his dad needed.

RLR said...

Jane Anne -
Unbelievable! I don't know how you held your tongue! Well, yes I do.
Last week at VBS, the youth 'leaders' (two early teenage girls) in my son's group would rub his buzz cut every evening. He told me about half way through VBS that they were doing it and that he didn't like it. Apparently, when he went to his adult leader she said something to the effect of, "Oh, they just like you!"
J's only 7 and not so assertive, so we did a little role-play and I encouraged him to try and handle the situation on his own, then to ask his adult leader for help if he needed it. Unfortunately, he'd already lost confidence in his adult leader, but he did ask the youth leaders to stop. On Friday evening, as we were getting into the line for dinner and they tried to do it AGAIN. While I was with him! At that point, I did speak up, reminding them that he'd already asked them to stop. I don't think that I crossed a line with my son, though I'm sure I lost cool points with the girls (big deal...).
Oh, I don't know what my point is except maybe to vent. However, I do appreciate you sharing this experience and showing how to walk the fine line between support and causing your son embarrassment. I'm sure I'm going to be in a similar situation all too soon.
Praying for smooth transitions for your entire family!

Jamie said...

so sorry to hear about that for Jonathan, that can be so frustrating, good job on stepping in when you felt the moment was right. I would of had a hard time waiting, but glad it got resolved. There will be a good friend for him at school and this will be a distant memory.