Then he really let one go at me, and the next thing I knew I was on the goddam floor again. I don't remember if he knocked me out or not, but I don't think so. It's pretty hard to knock a guy out, except in the goddam movies. But my nose was bleeding all over the place...
Holden gets into a fight with his dorm mate, Stradlater, and the results are not very good. Holden ends up getting the snot beat out of him. That doesn't stop Holden from talking smack to Stradlater. Holden doesn't really know when to keep his mouth shut.
Holden is a pretty typical boy in a lot of ways. He gets in fights with other boys. He obsesses about sex. He swears and drinks and smokes. He's atypical in other ways. He reads. He likes to write. He knows poetry. I understand Holden's atypical side. I am Holden's atypical side. His typical side is pretty foreign to me.
My four-year-old son is a typical boy. He likes to play with toy cars. Sitting and listening to me read a book is "not my favorite," as he likes to tell me. He hates baths and loves to stare at things like dead squirrels. And he plays rough, like most boys his age.
Unfortunately, my typical son gets in trouble for being typical. Since he started kindergarten two weeks ago, we have received four phones calls from his teacher, one phone call from the principal, and an official letter from the school district's director of transportation. None of those communications were commendations for good behavior.
I understand being very aware of students' behaviors at school. I understand the need for hypersensitivity to physical and verbal altercations. We all want a safe environment for our children to learn in. I understand and agree with that. Bullying is something that should never be tolerated.
However, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Little boys, most of whom are naturally physical creatures, can't be little boys any more. Shoving matches on the playground between kindergartners becomes preludes to dententions and suspensions. My son is not a bully. He loves to play, and his play involves normal boy things: jumping, shouting, tagging, maybe a little pushing. Playground supervisors seem to get very nervous around this kind of play.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not condoning school bullying in any way. If my son hits or harms one of his classmates, he should be punished. I believe that with all my heart. However, there should be some understanding that a four-year-old is going to act like, well, a four-year-old. He shouldn't be penalized and punished for being a typical four-year-old boy.
Again, I am not arguing for or condoning bullying. That's not my point. My point is that educators need to use some common sense these days. Remember that they are dealing with children, not short versions of Charles Manson. Keeping the peace on the playground doesn't require the United Nations Security Council.
And that's Saint Marty, giving you a piece of his mind.
|This is not my son...|