Saturday, December 22

Life Is A Head Game

Yesterday I awoke to a light dusting of snow.
All I have to do is roll over to get a six-foot greeting from Mother Nature.

Once JB got out the door, I set about finishing up Christmas. I sorted and wrapped and ran up and down the basement stairs taking care of laundry in-between.

I got a call from both daughters. Jeni had taken her car for an inspection before the 5-hour drive to visit her sister and had learned that she needed 2 tires. This may not be a big deal to most, but to a college student-- living on summer job and grant money-- it can be devastating.

Not ten minutes after I hung up the phone, Miss Jessica called. She's found a job she enjoys, but its flawed. Her male coworkers are verbally abusive and take great delight in playing grab ass. She's reported this to management on several occasions and they seem to be just waiting for it to go away.

I remember dealing with a similar situation when Jessica was in the third grade. There was one young man who wanted to play grab ass at recess every day. I remember she came home from school very upset over the fact that he wouldn't stop, no matter how many times she asked. I told her to tell the teacher right away, so he could resolve the issue. Well the next day, she told the teacher, and he suggested she just go back to play and ignore him. This was definitely not the response I was expecting.

(That's when I pulled out the lesson plan for the School of Hard Knocks.) Jessica, I said, if this happens again tomorrow, I want you to turn around and knock the living shit out of that boy, I don't want a little smack. I want you to kick him in the shin, or punch him in the stomach--but do it hard enough so he will hurt a little, and have time to think about WHY you hit him.

I don't have to tell you that I had a call from the principals office the next day. I went and explained Miss Jessica had done exactly what I had advised her to do. I explained why I had advised her to retaliate with force. I also brought to their attention what type of message was being conveyed to elementary school children by allowing behavior that patterned sexual harassment to continue unaddressed.

I think it's a shame that ultimately we are forced in to taking matters into our own hands. Remember this--all you mothers out there lamenting school schedules and homework--don't forget to do your lesson plans for the School of Hard Knocks...

because essentially, life is a head game of survival.


KathyR said...

It took a few complaints, but my mother finally called the little harasser's mother. I don't know what happened to little Steve that night, but he never walked home from school on the same side of the street as me ever again. Thanks, Mom!

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

You had snow? It missed us totally.

I'm glad you told Jessica to punch the shit out of that boy. Much better than my first reaction, which would involve me ripping the child and his parents a new one.

(un)relaxeddad said...

I wish I'd been told that - I was bullied a lot at school and my parents never did any better than "try to ignore them!" Kind of tricky when the only reason they aren't punching your face is because they're sitting on it. God, how I hated school. The bullying finally stopped when I was 16 and threw a desk at one of them. When in doubt, throw furniture - there's a lesson I wish I'd learned earlier.

Is sexual harassment different from bullying? Well, they're both power games, for starters - I certainly have a strong sense of how furious your daughter must feel. Hope she gets to kick their asses one way or another.