I hoped I’d run out of invitations.
I hoped my pen would run out of ink.
I considered accidently “forgetting” just. one. name. The name of my child’s bully. I just didn’t want to include him in this party.
Him. The child who votes my kid out of clubs third graders create on a daily basis. The child who makes Noah (9) have a stomach ache and long to stay home from school. The child who’s a friend one day and an enemy the next. The child who has provoked more phone calls to the school in 6 months, than I’ve had to make altogether, in 21 years of parenting. The child Noah wants to be friends with (Noah wants EVVERYONE to be his friend-)… but is (at least on occasion) a bully.
The truth is: I wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. I wanted to leave him out. I wanted to hurt his feelings.
I wanted to bully, the bully.
I just wanted Noah to enjoy his own birthday party without fear of being bullied. And I wanted revenge. and I wanted to do the right thing.
Not just what felt right. I did a bible word search for “bully.” It’s not there.
But….something about doing to others as you’d have them do to you… is. Likewise is some nonsense about kind words turning away wrath. And some crazy thing about turning the other cheek. And vengeance belonging to God. ugh.
I didn’t run out of invitations.
The pen didn’t run out of ink.
I couldn’t forget that name.
And as the pen hovered over the final invitation, I remembered the note I’d received at the beginning of the school year.“If your child brings invitations to school to give distribute, please either include everyone in class, or distribute outside of class. We don’t want to hurt feelings by excluding some people.” I didn’t want to. I thought about making it a smaller party. Distributing invitations outside of class. But Noah wanted to invite the whole class.
I had a choice. Would I bully the bully by excluding him….? Or respond in grace and do what I felt was right: invite him, keep an eye on the situation and hope for the best? would I put into practice the gospel I say I believe….or allocate it to only places where it’s comfortable to do so?
I wrote out the invitation. (I may have forgotten to include the time… ) I shoved the invitations into a ziplock bag and threw up a quiet prayer….
“Lord- this kid infuriates me. I don’t like him. I want to exclude him. The truth is- I want to hurt his feelings. But he’s yours. He’s precious. He’s loved. I’ll invite him. But it would be nice if he didn’t come.” Amen
I talked to Noah about how he felt. And about the weird verses that seem so fitting- and awful in this circumstance. We prayed. we discussed options. We talked about feeling left out. We planned to tag team the kid if he got out of hand. (hey- my kid’s party means i get to confront – I’m in charge!) And Noah decided to invited him.
His was one of the first RSVP’s. I told his dad the partie’s time, when he called. Yes. The same time as everyone else. (I may have been tempted to tell him a different one. Maybe.)
I may have hoped he’d get that virus that was going around, and have to miss.
He didn’t. (Although I got it…good thing I don’t believe in karma..)
I’d like to say the party went without a hitch and the two boys have happily ever after been friends.
It didn’t. (My husband ended up telling the kid to layoff- in the middle of the party. ) They aren’t. And they may never be.
There have been more phone calls. More meetings. More tears and tummy aches.
But I know this- we did the right thing.
Do I think this is the answer to bullying? Do I think this is always the right thing? Nope. But it was this time.
Dear lord, I pray for this situation and so many other situations of bullying that happen everyday. I pray for those bullied and bullying… that they’d find your love and grow in it- instead of bitterness, vengeance and hate. I pray for every mom who’s pen is hovering as they face a decision to bully the bully or take the high road of grace….let us grow in love- even for the bully. amen oh? and lord? if my kid happens to give him a little smack down and give the kid a clue? I would happily discipline and love him through that- too.
have you faced this kind of choice?
what did you choose, and why?
has your child been bullied and had the issue solved? how?
how do you deal with the inner momma bear that wants to bully the bully?