About a week ago, I was working on editing a video for YouTube while my nine year old son was watching videos on his laptop. After a little while I noticed that he was watching something that apparently had his undivided attention, and I got curious. I asked him what he was watching. He told me he was watching a documentary on NRK Super (a web/tv channel for kids) about a boy that was bullied.
Some minutes passed and I could hear the story that this boy told in the background while I was working. It was heartbreaking to hear the cruelty that was done to him by his classmates. They had locked him inside of a classroom, and they’d beaten him up pretty bad. He was talking about how it all happened, how it felt afterwards, and how they eventually had to move and start a new life somewhere else because the bullying wouldn’t stop.
Being a victim of bullying as a teenager myself, I always find it hard to listen to stories like this. The cruelty of kids that don’t think their actions through makes my heart ache. I turned to Leander and saw that he was crying, and it warmed my aching heart.
How lucky am I to have a child that feels such empathy. To be able to watch someone else bare their struggles and pain, and through what he saw, he could feel it all. He could feel it so much that he couldn’t hold it in. It was beautiful to see an emotion so pure, brought forth by information that he himself had gone searching for.
It’s easy as a parent to focus on all of the things that we feel like we have done wrong, or could have done differently. But watching him have this kind of reaction, and talking about bullying with him afterwards, hearing his thoughts, that was a moment where I truly felt that I had done something right. Somewhere along the road, growing up to be the little man that he is, he’s learned to care for others. To love them for who they are and the life they choose live, even though he might not agree with all of it. He’s learned to respect others and to try not to judge them.
I will not take complete credit for this, but the amount of time we’ve used to talk about life, people and choices, I know that’s played an important part in this.
I’m so grateful that my son already is a seeker of knowledge, and I’ll keep on encouraging him. To try to give him as many tools as possible for him to be able to make the choices that will be right for him.
And maybe most importantly, it’s important for me that he knows that crying is not a sign of weakness. To be comfortable enough to show your emotions is a strength that should not be taken for granted. It’s a superpower!