Today I had an interaction with a kindergarten playground bully. He was 6, and came up and laughed at me for my painted purple toenails. He told me "I was a girl" and that he wanted to "stomp on my toes and make me cry." He was bigger than the other kids and had 2 smaller kids that were his friends that helped him bully others.
I was stunned. It took me a few seconds to fight down the "what the fuck?!" reaction and instead I said "why do you want to hurt me like that?" Off he and his friends ran.
Later, after I'd played with my daughter, I was resting and purposefully sitting on the playground to interact with the children and behind me comes the bully in the Captain America shirt, and he stands right behind me (making him taller than I) and by this time I was ready for an interaction with a child with a bully mentality.
Him - "You have painted toes"
Me - "Yes, I like purple". "What color do you like?"
Him - "Blue. I want to hit you in the face."
Me - "Why would you want to hurt someone else like that?"
Him- "I'm just teasing"
Me - "I don't think it's funny and there are better ways to make friends than teasing them like that"
Him - "I'm gonna slug you". At which point he reached out and every so gently tapped the side of my face in the softest right hook I've ever felt.
Me - Stunned silence. The kids stopped smiling and ran off again. It's my guess that he witnessed the fury roll across my face as I was really mad.
I realized I had become furious on a kindergarten playground by a 6 year old boy. A 6 year old boy had just pushed my buttons like few are able to any longer. I recognized that my current state of mind (contained fury) was not conducive to my interactions with my daughter that day, and if I was to every teach a bully not to be a bully I can't feel this way and teach effectively.
Shortly after, (under 5 minutes) I'd re-entered a state of equanimity and was able to interact with the children again in a constructive way without anger. Fortunately the boy stayed away from me.
That was the limit of my personal interaction with him, but I personally saw him throw another kids (a little girls) lunchbox, and was kicking at the other kids. I'm SURE other parents observed the behavior of the child and I'll be reporting the interaction (this post) to the school so that they can be aware of it. I hope the boy learns some kindness before the hate in his heart destroys him.
This reminds me of a Zen parable on letting things go...
Even though my interaction with my daughter was STELLAR, this interaction has defined my last ~3 hours as I've thought, types and analyzed. Time to put the right things in action for the right reasons and let it go...
Soon you'll be seeing a post about my day with my daughter (a hugely positive experience).