My son rode the yellow school bus in grade school. He was 5th or 6th grade when we got a call to come to the school. There had been an altercation on the bus. A girl 10- 15 pounds heavier than him had gotten mad and attacked him.
I’m rather old school. I figure if someone attacks you it’s game on so I’m thinking he’s at least been suspended.
“Where do we pick him up then?” I ask.
No Mr. Hicks, he’s in class. There’s no reason at all for us to reprimand or punish him,” the principal says. “that’s not why we called you here at all. The girl has been suspended for attacking him, but you see he refused to fight back.”
Stunned I mutter, “What the hell?”
“We asked him why not and he said his Mom told him to never hit a guwell.” Him and his twin brother pronounced girl this way. Must say I kind of hated it when it faded.
“We asked you to come in, so we could tell you in person what a fine young boy you have.”
I was born in the fifties. Bottom line, someone attacks you, especially someone bigger, you go to it. I was also taught not to hit girls though. I left confused.
His Mom admonished me for my rant about defending yourself.
When I got home from work, he was in his room. I went in. He was sprawled on the bed reading a schoolbook. I sat down beside him. He gazed up with those big chocolate eyes like his Mom’s.
“Hey Dad! How’s it going?”
He’s got a scratch on his forehead and a budding bruise on his cheekbone. My blood rises as I tousle his hair.
“Understand you had a bit of a tough day, Sport.”
“Ah, it wasn’t so bad. She was probably mad at something else. We usually get along fine. Actually, I get along with her better than most.”
Seeing he’s ok, I go to take a shower. Looking in the mirror I see a guy that has spent a lifetime scrapping one way or another and for the first time ever I’m thinking maybe something’s off. I was in a few scrapes on the school bus back in the day. Granted it was never with a girl but 10-15 pounds is a lot.
Then it hits me. I always figured it took courage to fight. In that moment I thought of all those kids watching as she pummeled him. He’s no sissy and had his share of scuffles but he just took it in front of everybody.
Then I hear the guy in the mirror say, “I’m thinking that’s about as courageous as it gets.”