A few months ago, I dropped off my little one at school. I parked the car and began the walk to her classroom.
“Ok, Bug…I will pick you up and you can come to practice with me ok? Or do you want to go the Boys & Girls Club so you can play with your friends?”
She was silent.
“I want to go with you….to practice.”
I didn’t pay attention to it.
The next day, she had a school holiday and gave her two options.
“Ok, Bug…we don’t have practice so I will take you to the Boys & Girls Club ok?”
She was silent again….
“Bug? Ok? Or…I don’t know…you can stay with Mom at her work. I have to ask her if its ok, though.”
She perked up.
“I want to go to mom’s work….”
“Really? Are you sure? You will just be sitting there…playing video games. You don’t want to play with your friends and the Boys & Girls Club?”
“No…I want to go with mom.”
I told wifey about it….and she did her detective work. Well, she “played detective” and tried to dig deeper to see if something was going on. My wife’s job is not a detective. She doesn’t sit around at a desk…in a trench coat and old-timey hat…walking around with a big magnifying glass…looking for clues. And when she finds one she says out loud:
“EUREKA! I found it! I knew it…it was Ol’ Man Johnson…in the library…with the candlestick. He’s gonna be put away for a long time….thanks to me.”
And I am sure she would love that job. But back to my story…this is a serious one.
Bug spent the day with Mom at work. And she called me later that day.
“So, I found out why Lainy doesn’t want to go to the Boys & Girls Club….she is getting bullied.”
My heart dropped….and I could feel anger fill my body.
“What! By who? What are they doing to her? Who is it?”
“A boy…an older boy. He calls her names…bad words…and sometimes he pushes her and her friends.”
“Ok…my turn to play detective.” Now when I play detective…I am not as smooth. I don’t ask a question…to get to another one…and another one. I am an emotional person…so I go guns blazing. So remember how my wife as a detective? Walking around in a brown trench coat…with an old-timey hat…and a big magnifying glass? Yelling..EUREKA! This is me as a detective. Imagine a criminal sitting in an interrogation room by himself….and the room has one of those two-way mirrors, where the criminal can’t see you…but you can see them. I would be behind the glass. And my partner would turn to me and say.
“Look…we don’t know if he did it…ok? We don’t have a warrant…so we can’t search his car or his seedy hotel room. Let me handle this.”
And I would say, “The scumbag is guilty…just look at his haircut. That is a guilty haircut…his hair is telling the truth…but his face is not. No way would he pay to have his hair cut like that…that’s guilt…that’s what that is.”
And then my partner would say, “What are you talking about? His hair is guilty? You want me to walk in there…say, ‘you’re guilty, because your hair looks like a guilty haircut…”
“…Exactly, you are finally learning, partner.”
Then he would laugh…and walk into the room with the criminal. And be all nice.
“Hey…need a cup of coffee or anything like that?”
And it would make me mad behind the glass…I would say stuff like.
“Coffee? What is this a darned Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee? You gonna give him a chocolate croissant with that soft questioning…” And I would storm into the room and knock over a chair.
“We know you did it….got multiple witnesses….save yourself some time by just fessing up right now. American Idol is on TV tonight, and I want to get home in time to watch Ryan Seacrest. Don’t make me miss Ryan Seacrest? You want that? You want me angry? You won’t like me when I’m angry.”
And then my partner would come in with the coffee cup for the criminal…and I would take it from him…take a sip…and throw the cup on the ground. Oh yeah, I am an angry detective.
So, yes that’s me…I get right to the point with my questioning. And yes, I watch American Idol…it’s the last season, c’mon.
I called the head director at the Boys & Girls Club to find out what was going on.
She told us that there were a few reportings about this boy…
“Well, if that’s the case? And he’s been doing this numerous times…over and over again. Why is he still allowed at here? He is putting the kids safety in danger.”
I pictured my little one…getting called a bad word…and then pushed to the ground by this bully. And it infuriated me.
“Can we meet? I will bring my daughter…maybe she can point him out.”
The director agreed. She hung up. But that didn’t calm my nerves. This was not going to give me peace until this whole situation was resolved. I HATE bullying. I do not tolerate it at all. I was bullied as a kid, so it struck a special nerve with me. And my passion is working for the youth of tomorrow. So, hearing or reading on the news about bullying and its consequences always sets me off. Bullying was different back when I was younger…it is much worse now. Our children get bullied at school and on social media. And all this can happen without us even knowing it. We have all seen tragic ends to bullying. I HATE bullying. And this was happening to my little one. Our jobs are to make sure our little ones are safe…and feel safe wherever they go. And she was not feeling safe at the Boys & Girls Club.
A week later, I was told the bully….no longer went to the Boys & Girls club. The director left a message to notify me…and other parents. This was a collective win, I am sure. I am sure that other parents chimed in on this issue to the director. But, it was the resolution we wanted.
Now as parents, sometimes we have to play “detective.” And the one we have to interrogate is our own children. All joking aside, I know I poke fun a lot. But, this is not an issue I play around with. If I have any minor clue that this is going on…I work to fix it. And unfortunately, our kids tend to tell us less as they get older. Sometimes, we have to be creative and find these things out on our own….like real detectives.