The “R” Word

Today while we were at Alex’s football game, one of Joey’s friends walked over to the stands crying.  Apparently, while playing behind the bleachers, a sixth grader from the football team called him a retard.  I was so upset I wanted to cry.  I didn’t think I’d have to even think about people using the “r” word just yet.  Joey went with him to help him stick up for himself and they couldn’t find the kid so they went and told his dad.  The dad is one of the football coaches and I knew he’d handle it.  He tried to make Joey’s friend feel better and then he marched off and had a long talk with his son.

When we got in the car I was furious.  I know Tommy had been playing with that kid earlier and I wanted him to know what kind of kid he was playing with.  I told him what happened and he said, “I know.  I heard it.  I got right in his face and told him to shut up.”  I was pretty proud of Tommy, especially because this other boy has about 50 pounds of muscle over him.  I looked at Dave and my first thought was to judge his parents.  I mean, what kind of parents would allow that?  I was surprised because I know them.  But then Dave reminded me that the use of the “r” word is a learning opportunity.  Most kids only know it’s wrong because they have used it and gotten in trouble or else they know someone else who had.  Clearly, the father did the right thing and made sure his child knew why this was wrong.  In the end though, I was just so proud of Tommy. I know that if PJ encounters some kid who uses this word later on, that kid will be pummeled by my older kids.  I’m proud of Joey too because when he saw his friend crying over this word, he got up to find the kid.

I love my boys.


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