Wednesday, April 29, 2009

If you have to knock somebody down...Chance and the Bully

Sorry I've been gone for a while...

Each member of my family; my wife, my daughters, and my son, are my heroes. Each of them have done things so out of the ordinary, and/or beyond the call of duty, that they continually lift my spirits...and give me stories to tell.

The world would be a better place if we never had to fight to protect ourselves or those who can't defend themselves...of course, the world would be a better place if I looked like Denzel Washington or Brad Pitt and had Bill Gates' money...but that's not happening either. We are required to fight sometimes...which brings me to my story...

My son Chance is a wonderful young man. Great son, brother, friend, you name it. He's the best. Good natured and kind...he has always looked out for others. This story goes back to when Chance was in kindergarten.

Chance would come home every day from school and go straight to the bathroom...where he would pee for about five minutes. (the boy has my bladder) Cherish and I got concerned when he told us he couldn't go at school. We took him to a urologist, but he checked out fine. One day, a few weeks later, Chance finally told me why he couldn't go at school. There was a boy in his class who waited in the bathroom for the other boys. He was literally twice their size, and would push, hit, or kick them if they went in.

I went to the school to meet with the Principal. I was shocked to find out that the Principal was completely aware of the problem...and so was the entire staff. This boy (who was two or three years older than the others in the class) had also assaulted the teacher, kicking her in the stomach while she was pregnant. I couldn't believe he was still in the school.

The mother apparently knew how to "play the system." She threatened lawsuits at every turn. The boy had already been kicked out of more than one school, and now the district had backed down. He was supposed to be supervised by an adult attendant at all times, but the mother protested...and won. Now, everyone was afraid of this boy.

I told the principal that if the district wouldn't let him do his job, I would take care of the problem myself...and, to quell his fears, I didn't mean going after this boy myself. I told him that I was going to teach Chance how to take care of himself...and that I better not hear one word about it if Chance fought back.

Chance and I went for a walk that night. I told him about a circumstance in my own life growing up...and the advice my father had given me.

Walk away from any fight you can...but if the other person won't let you walk away...then you knock them on their ass...and don't let them get up. Every time they try to get back up...you knock them down again.

Chance looked at me a little dubiously. This boy was literally twice his size. Chance had seen the boy kick and hit his teacher...two other teachers...and the principal...all with impunity.

But I was his Dad...and I told him he could do it.

There was quite a commotion at school the next day when I went to pick Chance up. A group of boys from Chance's class ran to meet me at the door.

Chance kicked his ass, Mr. Blake...Chance really laid him out...Chance beat him up good...

The boys were very excited, to say the least. Chance came walking out of the Principal's office a minute later...followed by the boy and his parents. Obviously, the boy's parents had been called...and I hadn't. I wasn't sure what to make out of that. The Principal brought Chance over to me.

Is Chance in trouble?

No. Not at all...

Good.

I don't think I've ever seen a more perplexed, confused look on some one's face in my whole life, than was on the face of that boy. He kept staring back at Chance as his parents were dragging him out of the school, like Chance was an alien with eight eyes, five legs...and purple. Just bewildered.

I asked Chance what happened...

I just did what you told me to daddy...am I in trouble?

Not one bit stud...not one bit.

The principal called me later that afternoon. This was the story he gathered from the boys who were in the bathroom.

Afternoon recess. All of the boys are supposed to wash their hands before going back to class. All of them are outside of the bathroom...because they know the bully is waiting for them inside. No one moves. Finally, Chance hunkers down his shoulders and marches in. The rest of the boys follow...waiting to see Chance get beat up.

Chance goes to the sink and starts to wash. The bully comes over and taunts him. Chance just keeps washing. The bully pushes him.

Don't do that again.

Oh yeah? What you gonna do about it?

Don't do it.

The bully laughs as he pushes Chance away from the sink. Chance takes both hands, steps forward, and puts them square in the bully's chest...just like I taught him. The bully goes down...a surprised look on his face. He starts to get up...and Chance knocks him down again. Apparently, from all of the boys' stories, this happened at least five or six times. Finally, the bully just sat there...stupefied.

One of the boys had run to the Principal's office when it all started. The principal told me he ran as fast as he could to get there, fearing for Chance's safety. He was pleasantly surprised to find Chance standing over the bully...yelling at him to try and get up again.

The bully never came back to the school. The parents transferred him to another district. I felt bad for the kid...but not bad enough to have my son be afraid to go to school.

Sometimes, your only choice is between being intimidated...and being the intimidator. Not a hard choice, as far as I'm concerned...especially for my wife and children.

I'd like to tell you that Chance became a hero at school after that...but that's not how life works. All of those boys, many of whom were bigger than Chance, were embarrassed to see someone else take a stand. You see, as long as no one does...then no one is really a coward...but as soon as someone stands up for what is right...the majority who have stood back have no excuse. The telling moment was when the bully pushed Chance...and no one came to Chance's aide. There were at least fifteen other boys watching. Three of the boys were almost as big as the bully. Any group of three or four of the boys could have put a stop to it...but, just like adults, no one wanted to risk getting hurt.

Chance has taken other stands since then that have cost him...cost him a lot. He has stood up for a friend...and then have his teacher try and screw him over...and the friend turn his back on him.

Still...he always tries to do what is right...knowing that it will probably cost him. That is the truest test of courage...and character.

A father could never ask for a better son...

1 comment:

zcada said...

I am so very, very proud of him. So proud. I've told my little brother (who happens to be in Chance's grade) that if he doesn't stop being such a jerk, he has his own coming to him. I overhear him with his friends talking about kids they don't like, kids that are "stupid" and who got beat up, like they enjoyed all that. Chance's stand proves something very important. It proves that the little man is usually the bigger man in every possible way, internally and externally. I hope Chance's "rebellion" proves to all the other oppressed people in the world that they really can have a say and that not all is lost.
Great writing!

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Christopher Blake is a loving husband...devoted father...minister...crippled ex-cop...screenwriter...novelist...actor...and more than a little rough around the edges...