It's 10:30 at night and my neighbor is outside with her kids and her dog. The dog keeps barking. That's pretty normal. What's unusual is me paying attention to the noise of her talking to her kids. It's 10:30 and she is outside with her kids. They aren't quiet. What's more, they aren't in bed.
Our kids have school tomorrow.
I'm struck with the realization, which I have had in the past, that her kids live much, much different lives than mine. Their environment is different.
One of her kids in particular is an extreme source of frustration to one of my kids. Eight times out of ten he is just mean to my son. Earlier tonight was one of those times. My son came inside in tears. The kid just couldn't be much more verbally abusive. And yet, those few times he is nice, they play and have the best time together. This son of mine is extremely social. So, he wants to be friends with the boy next door. The boy is either nice and fun or extremely mean. My son is nice to a fault. I think that and then I wonder- what the heck does that mean? Nice to a fault? Sadly, it isn't great to be the nice kid. It is great to be the tough kid or the cool kid but not the nice kid.
I was trying to comfort him tonight and I told him to imagine this boy getting picked on. I told him, I thought he would throw his hands up and walk away. I was telling my son that it is okay to walk away. But, he said, no- this kid wouldn't do that. He would be mean right back.
My son can't do that. So, the other kids call him a baby.
I hurt for him. I also realize that I went through this with my older son. So far, I am seeing a pattern. My kids are too nice.
I'm not even sure what to think about that. In this day, it's a not good thing to be a rule following, nice kid. It means you are an easy target.
My kids have been in bed for a long time. They aren't getting chastised in the backyard by me at 10:45 at night.
I am not better than my neighbor. I am just different than my neighbor. I was trying to tell my son it is okay to be different (kinder) than other kids. It just won't always be easy.
Sometimes I feel unprepared. I don't have the answers to encourage his hurting heart. I wonder if honesty is enough. I just talk to him from my heart and hope that he senses I am being real with him. I encourage him, rub his back, hug him, and wipe away his tears.
I cannot stop the pain that he feels.
I cannot stop the inconsiderate person.
Intervening wouldn't' do anything. It would probably ruin a relationship.
I just wait and try to keep a pleasant attitude. It would be much, much easier to go off and say what I really think.
Sometimes people are so self-involved, they don't realize the impact they have.
It is true for these kids. It is true for adults.