My son has been to many of weddings for someone a little over four years of life under his belt. He is at the perfect age for running around the reception, dancing, getting hopped up on sugar and entertaining people of all ages.
He’s slow to warm up, but my four year-old eventually joined a group of various aged children throwing glow sticks and generally enjoying the camaraderie of the wedding reception.
I looked over to admire him and his new found friends, when I saw a boy of twice his age push him down. I did a double take. On one had I wanted to run over there and threaten this boy. I didn’t even know his parents, but I was going to wring his neck. The other hand told me to let my son navigate this on his own. The other hand won. I let go and let God.
I waited for the tears and for him to come running to me. I rejoined the conversation I was having with eye contact anyway. Mentally, I was still waiting for my son to come running.
He never came. There were no tears. There wasn’t even any pushing back or a fight that I could see from my vantage point across the room. By the time I looked back at the smattering of youth, they were continuing their game of God knows what.
He handled things and worked through them on his own without my interference.
I remember being in the sixth grade, when the roller-skating rink was the place to hang with friends, jam to various (late 80’s and early 90’s) rock, and flirt with girls. I also remember a particular incident where I was pushed down. Actually, I don’t remember being physically pushed. I remember being threatened to the point of being scared that I was going to be physically pushed and worse.
I called home. My dad answered and came to the rescue. He bailed my friend and I out, so we didn’t have to face the “bully” on our own.
There is a big difference between being four and being 11 years old, especially developmentally. But I feel habits develop early, especially habits in how we handle difficult relationships. My son jumped right back in and stood his ground, eventually he and this older kid were playing around in what looked like to be a respectful and enjoyable manner.
My hope is to raise a boy with the foundation that he can handle difficult problems with his own resources.
He didn’t run for his father to bail him out. (I hope he knows that I would have been there to bail him out.) But he was self-sufficient. I don’t know whether he was quick to forgive or if he had what was coming to him. My son never actually brought this incident up to me and doesn’t even realize I saw what happened, but he moved on. He let it go, and I feel like that’s a good set up for growth.